1

I saw this phrase used in this New Yorker article.

I think I understand it intuitively, especially with the help of google images, but I'd like to know for sure.

  • re the close vote. This is a good question, simply looking up cavernous in the dictionary would suggest a room like a cave = dark rough, crude and cramped. Rather than it's normally figurative meaning of very very large. – mgb Jul 6 '11 at 16:01
  • @Martin Beckett: i.e. like a cavern. – user1579 Jul 6 '11 at 16:32
  • If you are a spelunker, cave has an image of tight, cramped, dirty and uncomfortable, not cathedral like! – mgb Jul 6 '11 at 16:39
  • 2
    Sorry, looking up "cavernous" should lead you to "cavern", not "cave". – user1579 Jul 6 '11 at 16:46
12

It means that the room is very large, and open (even empty). High-ceilinged, and not cozy. Echoing might add to the effect.

Cavernous:

  1. being, resembling, or suggestive of a cavern.

Cavern:

  1. a cave, especially one that is large and mostly underground.
  • 1
    Absolutely. I doubt very much that the writer in this case intended any troglodyte associations such as primitive, dark, underground. Large, opulent, light, and sparsely-furnished, more likely. – FumbleFingers Jul 6 '11 at 15:20
  • 1
    @Fumble: More good descriptive words there. – Daniel Jul 6 '11 at 15:23
  • +1. IMO, acoustics are important to make a room "cavernous". – theidiotbox Jul 6 '11 at 19:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.