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Cave canem
Beware of the dog


From Proto-Italic *kawēō, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kewh₁- (to perceive, pay attention).

Cognate with Ancient Greek κοέω (koéō), Sanskrit कवि (kaví, wise, poet, seer, sage), Lithuanian kavoti (safeguard, tend), Old Armenian ցուցանեմ (cʿucʿanem, I show), English show.



caveō (present infinitive cavēre, perfect active cāvī, supine cautum); second conjugation

  1. I beware, avoid, take care.
    Caveat emptor.
    May the buyer beware.
  2. I am aware of; guard against, prevent.
  3. (law) I take care for, order, decree, stipulate.
  4. (with ab) I procure bail or surety from.
  5. I make someone secure by bail or surety; pledge.

Usage notes[edit]

The primary sense ("beware") may either govern a noun in the accusative or a second verb in the subjunctive, with in between caveō and the next verb, with the meaning "beware lest ...". However, some writers, especially in poetry, may drop the in this construction.


   Conjugation of caveo (second conjugation)
indicative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present caveō cavēs cavet cavēmus cavētis cavent
imperfect cavēbam cavēbās cavēbat cavēbāmus cavēbātis cavēbant
future cavēbō cavēbis cavēbit cavēbimus cavēbitis cavēbunt
perfect cāvī cāvistī, cāstī1 cāvit cāvimus cāvistis, cāstis1 cāvērunt, cāvēre
pluperfect cāveram cāverās cāverat cāverāmus cāverātis cāverant
future perfect cāverō cāveris cāverit cāverimus cāveritis cāverint
passive present caveor cavēris, cavēre cavētur cavēmur cavēminī caventur
imperfect cavēbar cavēbāris, cavēbāre cavēbātur cavēbāmur cavēbāminī cavēbantur
future cavēbor cavēberis, cavēbere cavēbitur cavēbimur cavēbiminī cavēbuntur
perfect cautus + present active indicative of sum
pluperfect cautus + imperfect active indicative of sum
future perfect cautus + future active indicative of sum
subjunctive singular plural
first second third first second third
active present caveam caveās caveat caveāmus caveātis caveant
imperfect cavērem cavērēs cavēret cavērēmus cavērētis cavērent
perfect cāverim cāverīs cāverit cāverīmus cāverītis cāverint
pluperfect cāvissem, cāssem1 cāvissēs, cāssēs1 cāvisset, cāsset1 cāvissēmus, cāssēmus1 cāvissētis, cāssētis1 cāvissent, cāssent1
passive present cavear caveāris, caveāre caveātur caveāmur caveāminī caveantur
imperfect cavērer cavērēris, cavērēre cavērētur cavērēmur cavērēminī cavērentur
perfect cautus + present active subjunctive of sum
pluperfect cautus + imperfect active subjunctive of sum
imperative singular plural
first second third first second third
active present cavē cavēte
future cavētō cavētō cavētōte caventō
passive present cavēre cavēminī
future cavētor cavētor caventor
non-finite forms active passive
present perfect future present perfect future
infinitives cavēre cāvisse, cāsse1 cautūrus esse cavērī cautus esse cautum īrī
participles cavēns cautūrus cautus cavendus
verbal nouns gerund supine
nominative genitive dative/ablative accusative accusative ablative
cavēre cavendī cavendō cavendum cautum cautū

1At least one rare poetic syncopated perfect form is attested.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]