HAVING BEEN FRIGHTENED INTO A STATE OF MOST REGRETTABLE ERROR
v. — to form cavities or spaces in fluid by the rapid whirling motion of a propeller
(i.e., something submarines do)
fm. back-formation of cavitation, from the Late or Romantic Latin cavus, meaning hollow.
first published. 1909
inspiration. my morning commute, during which I saw a large, multi-axle truck with inner wheel badly oscillating . “Ooh, that’s cavitating,” says I to my empty car, in great alarm. Then, “Hang on, is that the right word?” It is not.
Also, The Hunt for Red October. See page 80.