- Rhymes: -ʌŋkə(r)
spelunker (plural spelunkers)
- (Canada, US) One who explores caves; one who spelunks, caver; British English: potholer
- 1943, Clay Perry, Author and Journalist Magazine:
- I took to fishing, on mountain brooks and lakes, and finally I was inveigled into becoming a spelunker. A spelunker is a human worm who crawls into caves ("splunca" is Latin for cave) and explores them.
- (derogatory) An amateur or inadequately prepared caver.
- 2002, Doug van Hemessen, “Caved in: Inside a crevice cave on the Niagara Escarpment”, in Seasons, volume 43, page 41:
- I am officially a spelunker – but not yet a caver. The dictionary definition of spelunking is “exploring caves for sport.” Serious enthusiasts shun the term, however. They are cavers. A spelunker is an inexperienced amateur. On this dry and balmy mid-November Saturday, our group contains three spelunkers and two cavers.
- 2003, Dangerous Dick & the Duckbusters (lyrics and music), “Creepy Crawlways”:
- But the scariest of all’s the witless caver;
Spelunker is the name that he goes by.
He caves alone with just one light,
A worn-out rope, and boots too tight,
Looking for a cave in which to die.
- 2011, Michael Gordon, Caving in Ontario: Exploring Buried Karst:
- it is a truth that every caver was once a spelunker with a flashlight and a tangled ball of string.
- 2018, Douglas Reichert Powell, Endless Caverns: An Underground Journey into the Show Caves of Appalachia:
- “‘Cavers,’” the editor notes, “generally consider ‘spelunkers’ to be people who have no real knowledge or understanding of caves and caving safety, but who decide to enter a cave anyway, usually without proper equipment.”
one who explores caves