All Words > Cavort

Friday, April 15

Cavort

[kə-VORT]

Part of speech: verb

Origin: American English, 18th century

1.

Jump or dance around excitedly.

Examples of Cavort in a sentence

"Each evening I watch the possums cavort in my backyard."

"Elated partygoers cavorted beneath the light of a disco ball."

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About Cavort

“Cavort” has an unclear etymology, but it is believed to be an alteration of the now-rare verb “curvet,” describing hind-leg jumps performed in series by trained horses. Some documents report “cavort” emerged from Tennessee or the surrounding Southern states. By the late 19th century, slang dictionaries recorded the existence of “cavaulting ”— which became “cavorting” — as a vulgarization of “curveting.” Interestingly, dictionaries at that time connected “cavorting” to the term “horsing” (as in “horsing around”).

Did you Know?

To “cavort” has always been associated with animals, beginning with the word’s root in “curvet,” describing performing horses. As a result, “cavort” as a verb can be used to describe animal playfulness, and also to suggest people behaving like excited animals. In modern usage, “cavort” can suggest scandalous behavior, but it’s more often used generally to describe actions that make people seem like playful animals.

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