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1. verb To collapse into a hollow area below, as of a physical structure or formation. We were able to get the kids out of the house before the roof caved in.
2. verb To collapse, faint, or die, as from over-exertion. I hardly remember the end of the marathon because I caved in as soon as I crossed the finish line.
3. verb To submit, concede, or yield (to someone or something); to surrender or acknowledge defeat. Under the threat of a strike, the management caved in and agreed to reinstate annual pay increases for all employees.
4. noun A collapse into a hollow area below, as of a physical structure or formation. When used as a noun, the phrase is usually hyphenated. The fear of every miner is a cave-in.
[for a roof or ceiling] to collapse. The roof of the mine caved in when no one was there. The tunnel caved in on the train.
cave in (to someone or something)
Fig. to give in to someone or something. Finally, the manager caved in to the customer's demands. I refuse to cave in under pressure from my opponent.
cave in (to somebody/something)
to agree to something after originally opposing it give in (to somebody/something) If the pressure from your parents becomes too strong, you might cave in and go to graduate school.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of cave in (to suddenly fall inward)
1. Fall in, collapse, as in The earthquake made the walls cave in. [Early 1700s]
2. Give in, admit defeat, as in The prosecutor's questions soon made the witness cave in. [Early 1800s]
3. Collapse, faint, or die from exhaustion, as in After a twenty-mile hike I caved in. [Mid-1800s]
To give way; collapse: The sides of the snow fort caved in. The mine shaft caved in on a group of miners, but fortunately they were rescued.