Sample sentence - A cave was _________ into the cliff.

I'm trying to say that the cave was built naturally without any human intervention in any way.

The alternatives I can think/search of - carved, cut, built, slice but all of do carry a connotation of having human involvement.

Feel free to modify the sentence. Thanks in advance.

  • The cave was carved out of cliff by waves. No human involvement at all.
    – Lambie
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:17
  • Nature had carved a cave into the cliff.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:30

3 Answers 3


You could say that the cave formed, as in

Caves form naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. Wikipedia

However, I disagree with your assessment that the words you listed imply human involvment. The rock can be carved out by glaciers, rivers, or the elements in general.

  • 1
    I'm not saying that the words absolutely mean human involvement...that's why I say "carry a connotation". If you were to say "A cave was carved into the cliff", I, for one, would assume that humans had helped shape the cave...
    – user96551
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 18:26
  • If it's important to differentiate between naturally occurring and man-made caves, you could qualify your sentence by adding how the cave was created: "A cave was carved into the cliff by a prehistoric river" (or whatever applies in your case)
    – 0xFEE1DEAD
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 18:32
  • see that's the thing, I can't write that because I don't know how it was created. In the sentence, I just mention that the cave was present in the cliff and that it was naturally formed.
    – user96551
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 18:34
  • 2
    If you wrote "a cave formed in the cliff", I'd think it occurred naturally, without external intervention.
    – 0xFEE1DEAD
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 18:37

If the cliff was by the sea and it was the action of waves which had formed the cave you could say that it had been eaten into the cliff. This would certainly not have implications of human involvement since no humans eat rock.


A prehistoric cave in the cliff offered us shelter.

I think prehistoric implies strongly it was not made by humans, but I admit slightly ambiguous compared to the other answers.

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