cavity

A cavity is a carved-out space inside something solid like a wall or a tooth. If you have a cavity, you have a hole in your tooth, and it’s time to go to the dentist for a filling. Lucky you.

Doctors sometimes refer to various internal body parts as cavities, such as the "abdominal cavity," which includes the stomach and other hollow parts of the abdomen. You are more likely to hear the word at the dentist’s office, when she finds a cavity, which is a space in your tooth that's been eaten away by decay. Fun! (Not.) Cavity shares the Latin root cavus, "hollow," with the word cave.

Definitions of cavity
  1. noun
    space that is surrounded by something
    synonyms: enclosed space
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    types:
    hollow
    a cavity or space in something
    pocket, pouch, sac, sack
    an enclosed space
    type of:
    space
    an empty area (usually bounded in some way between things)
  2. noun
    a sizable hole (usually in the ground)
    synonyms: pit
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    types:
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    trou-de-loup
    a sloping pit with a stake in the middle used as an obstacle to the enemy
    barbecue pit
    a pit where wood or charcoal is burned to make a bed of hot coals suitable for barbecuing meat
    borrow pit
    a pit created to provide earth that can be used as fill at another site
    divot
    (golf) the cavity left when a piece of turf is cut from the ground by the club head in making a stroke
    fire pit
    a pit whose floor is incandescent lava
    quicksand
    a pit filled with loose wet sand into which objects are sucked down
    sandpit
    a large pit in sandy ground from which sand is dug
    sawpit
    a pit over which lumber is positioned to be sawed by two men with a long two-handed saw
    tar pit
    a natural accumulation of bitumens at the surface of the earth; often acts as a trap for animals whose bones are thus preserved
    type of:
    hole, hollow
    a depression hollowed out of solid matter
  3. noun
    (anatomy) a natural hollow or sinus within the body
    synonyms: bodily cavity, cavum
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    blastocele, blastocoel, blastocoele, cleavage cavity, segmentation cavity
    the fluid-filled cavity inside a blastula
    archenteron
    central cavity of the gastrula; becomes the intestinal or digestive cavity
    sinus
    any of various air-filled cavities especially in the bones of the skull
    locule, loculus
    a small cavity or space within an organ or in a plant or animal
    lumen
    a cavity or passage in a tubular organ
    socket
    a bony hollow into which a structure fits
    pulp cavity
    the central cavity of a tooth containing the pulp (including the root canal)
    cranial orbit, eye socket, orbit, orbital cavity
    the bony cavity in the skull containing the eyeball
    buccal cavity
    the cavity between the jaws and the cheeks
    antrum
    a natural cavity or hollow in a bone
    cloaca
    (zoology) the cavity (in birds, reptiles, amphibians, most fish, and monotremes but not mammals) at the end of the digestive tract into which the intestinal, genital, and urinary tracts open
    vestibule
    any of various bodily cavities leading to another cavity (as of the ear or vagina)
    mediastinum
    the part of the thoracic cavity between the lungs that contains the heart and aorta and esophagus and trachea and thymus
    middle ear, tympanic cavity, tympanum
    the main cavity of the ear; between the eardrum and the inner ear
    pleural cavity
    the cavity in the thorax that contains the lungs and heart
    chamber
    an enclosed volume in the body
    cranial cavity, intracranial cavity
    the cavity enclosed by the cranium
    amniotic cavity
    the fluid-filled cavity that surrounds the developing embryo
    greater peritoneal sac, peritoneal cavity
    the interior of the peritoneum; a potential space between layers of the peritoneum
    bursa omentalis, lesser peritoneal cavity, omental bursa
    an isolated part of the peritoneal cavity that is dorsal to the stomach
    pericardial cavity, pericardial space
    the space between the layers of the pericardium that contains fluid that lubricates the membrane surfaces and allows easy heart movement
    vacuole
    a tiny cavity filled with fluid in the cytoplasm of a cell
    ventricle
    one of four connected cavities in the brain; is continuous with the central canal of the spinal cord and contains cerebrospinal fluid
    sac
    a structure resembling a bag in an animal
    uterine cavity
    the space inside the uterus between the cervical canal and the Fallopian tubes
    nasal cavity
    either of the two cavities lying between the floor of the cranium and the roof of the mouth and extending from the face to the pharynx
    nasopharynx
    cavity forming the upper part of the pharynx
    oropharynx
    cavity formed by the pharynx at the back of the mouth
    laryngopharynx
    the lower part of the pharynx
    blind gut, caecum, cecum
    the cavity in which the large intestine begins and into which the ileum opens
    tubular cavity
    a cavity having the shape of a tube
    armpit, axilla, axillary cavity, axillary fossa
    the hollow under the arm where it is joined to the shoulder
    chest cavity, thoracic cavity
    the cavity in the vertebrate body enclosed by the ribs between the diaphragm and the neck and containing the lungs and heart
    abdomen, abdominal cavity
    the cavity containing the major viscera; in mammals it is separated from the thorax by the diaphragm
    pelvis, renal pelvis
    a structure shaped like a funnel in the outlet of the kidney into which urine is discharged before passing into the ureter
    pelvic cavity
    the space bounded by the bones of the pelvis and containing the pelvic viscera
    celom, celoma, coelom
    a cavity in the mesoderm of an embryo that gives rise in humans to the pleural cavity and pericardial cavity and peritoneal cavity
    fossa, pit
    a concavity in a surface (especially an anatomical depression)
    yolk sac
    membranous structure enclosing the yolk of eggs in birds, reptiles, marsupials, and some fishes; circulates nutrients to the developing embryo
    umbilical vesicle, vesicula umbilicus, vitelline sac, yolk sac
    membranous structure that functions as the circulatory system in mammalian embryos until the heart becomes functional
    amnion, amnios, amniotic sac
    thin innermost membranous sac enclosing the developing embryo of higher vertebrates (reptiles, birds and mammals)
    chorion
    the outermost membranous sac enclosing the embryo in higher vertebrates (reptiles, birds and mammals)
    coelenteron
    the saclike body cavity of a coelenterate
    air bladder, float, swim bladder
    an air-filled sac near the spinal column in many fishes that helps maintain buoyancy
    air sac
    any of the membranous air-filled extensions of the lungs of birds
    air sac
    any of the thin-walled extensions of the tracheae of insects
    ethmoid sinus, ethmoidal sinus, sinus ethmoidales
    a sinus of the meatuses of the nasal cavity (behind the bridge of the nose)
    frontal sinus
    one of a pair of cavities in the frontal bone
    maxillary sinus
    one of a pair of sinuses forming a cavity in the maxilla
    nasal sinus, paranasal sinus, sinus paranasales
    any of the paired sinuses in the bones of the face adjacent to the nasal cavity that are lined with mucous membrane that is continuous with the lining of the nasal cavities
    glenoid cavity, glenoid fossa
    the concavity in the head of the scapula that receives the head of the humerus to form the shoulder joint
    glenoid fossa, mandibular fossa
    a deep concavity in the temporal bone at the root of the zygomatic arch that receives the condyle of the mandible
    hip socket
    the socket part of the ball-and-socket joint between the head of the femur and the innominate bone
    alveolus, tooth socket
    a bony socket in the alveolar ridge that holds a tooth
    vestibule of the ear
    the central cavity of the bony labyrinth of the ear
    saccule, sacculus
    a small sac or pouch (especially the smaller chamber of the membranous labyrinth)
    heart ventricle, ventricle
    a chamber of the heart that receives blood from an atrium and pumps it to the arteries
    atrium
    any chamber that is connected to other chambers or passageways (especially one of the two upper chambers of the heart)
    fourth ventricle
    an irregular ventricle between the third ventricle and the central canal of the spinal cord
    third ventricle
    a narrow ventricle in the midplane below the corpus callosum; communicates with the fourth ventricle via the Sylvian aqueduct
    lateral ventricle
    either of two horseshoe-shaped ventricles one in each cerebral hemisphere; they communicate with the third ventricle via the foramen of Monro
    epigastric fossa, pit of the stomach
    a slight depression in the midline just below the sternum (where a blow can affect the solar plexus)
    bladder, vesica
    a distensible membranous sac (usually containing liquid or gas)
    acinus
    one of the small sacs or saclike dilations in a compound gland
    bursa
    a small fluid-filled sac located between movable parts of the body especially at joints
    cistern, cisterna
    a sac or cavity containing fluid especially lymph or cerebrospinal fluid
    pocket, pouch
    (anatomy) saclike structure in any of various animals (as a marsupial or gopher or pelican)
    cyst, vesicle
    a small anatomically normal sac or bladderlike structure (especially one containing fluid)
    vestibule of the vagina
    the space between the labia minora containing the orifice of the urethra
    air cell, air sac, alveolus
    a tiny sac for holding air in the lungs; formed by the terminal dilation of tiny air passageways
    pharynx, throat
    the passage to the stomach and lungs; in the front part of the neck below the chin and above the collarbone
    acetabulum, cotyloid cavity
    the cup-shaped hollow in the hipbone into which the head of the femur fits to form a ball-and-socket joint
    pericardial sac
    the membrane surrounding the heart
    type of:
    anatomical structure, bodily structure, body structure, complex body part, structure
    a particular complex anatomical part of a living thing
  4. noun
    soft decayed area in a tooth; progressive decay can lead to the death of a tooth
    synonyms: caries, dental caries, tooth decay
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    type of:
    decay
    the process of gradually becoming inferior
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