International Union of Speleology

The Caver's Multi-Lingual Dictionary

An International joint effort of the Caver's Dictionary
Working Group
of the Informatics Commission of the UIS.

2017-07-11  Edition 17

This Update: Added Arabic and Turkish; fixed broken external links.
As usual, your further additions and improvements to the Dictionary are very welcome - just email the Working Group Chairman!
[ The Dictionary ] [ Contributing a new language ] [ What's New ] [ Updates history ] [ UISIC Home ] [ UIS Home ]


This is the UIS on-line multi-lingual dictionary of caving and speleological terms. It is a living dictionary that is constantly being added to and tuned as an International joint effort among speleologists. Everyone is invited to participate - this could range from just correcting a mis-spelling to contributing a whole new language.

To get the ball rolling with a solid starting point, the original Chairman, Attila KÓSA from Hungary, updated his existing hardcopy publication, The Caver's Living Dictionary ( Kósa 1995/6), and this data was used for the initial web pages. This covered Hungarian, French, German and English, with the sort order by Hungarian terms of course. To make it easier to maintain, all the words are stored in a database which is used to automatically generate the updated web pages.

Of course, many other workers have contributed significantly in this field - see the list of references and the web links below. We are hoping that some of these other authors will be able to join in and make this a truly International on-line joint effort, and so rapidly increase its usefulness to all of us.

While there will always be a place for hardcopy versions, some of the advantages of this on-line version are:

Further languages will be added as they become available, and eventually it is planned to link the words to definitions in their respective language, thus making it a real dictionary.

[ Co-ordination ] [ Feedback ] [ References ] [ Links ] [ Acknowledgements ] [ Contributing a new language ]
[ The Dictionary ] [ What's New ]


The work of the Dictionary is being co-ordinated by Prof. Dr. Mladen GARAŠIČ of Croatia, Chairman of the Caver's Dictionary Working Group of the Informatics Commission of the International Union of Speleology.

Please get in touch with him if you would like to join the Working Group, or just help with the project.

History: Sadly, the Dictionary's original pioneer and Chairman, Attila KÓSA of Hungary, died on 2003-10-20 [ Obituary ]. His hard work and that of his collaborators had brought the Dictionary up to eight languages - English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish. In June 2005 we were fortunate to find a new Chairman when Mladen GARAŠIČ of Croatia very kindly offered to take over the work.

Additions and Corrections

If you have suggestions for improvements, please don't hesitate to
email the details. Or if you can supply new words or corrections, or can contribute a whole new language, please read our "Send a Language or Updates" page. All contributors will be acknowledged below.


An English-Romanian Caver's Dictionary. Pack Rat Scat No. 52, Summer, 1993. The Greater Allentown Grotto, PA, USA.
BALÁZS, D. (1990)
A karsztológiában és szpeleológiában használt fontosabb idegen szakkifejezések szótára - Karszt és Barlang, 1990. II. pp 127. Budapest.
BINI, A., MENEGHEL, M., SAURO, U. (1986)
Proposta di legenda per una cartografia geomorfologica delle aree carsiche - Atti e Memorie della Comm. Grotte "E. Boegan" Vol. 25., pp. 21-59. Trieste.
CIGNA, A. A., RAILTON, C. L. (1977)
Glossario speleologico - Speleological Glossary - Le Grotte d'Italia, (4) VII (1977), Bologna.
CULLINGFORD, C. H. D. (1962)
British Caving - London.
CULLINGFORD, C. H. D. (1969)
Manual of Caving Techniques - London.
ERARD, J. (1992)
Vocabulaire allemand-français de spéléologie - Paris.
FIELD, M. S., KRAEMER, S. R., PALMER, A. N. (1999)
A Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology with Special Reference to Environmental Karst Hydrology - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.
FIELD, M. S. (2002)
A Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology with Special Reference to Environmental Karst Hydrology. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report EPA/600/R-02/003 (Supersedes 1999 edition) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC. [ PDF at EPA's website (2MB)], [ At Karst Waters Institute's website].
FRACHON, J.C. (1990)
Lexique Speleo-Secours/Cave Rescue Vocabulary (English - Dutch - French - German - Hungarian - Italian - Portuguese - Slovak) - Spéléo-Secours Français.
GÈZE, B. (1973)
Lexique des termes français de Spéléologie physique et de karstologie - Annales de Spéléologie, Tome 28, Fascicule 1.
JENNINGS, J.N. (1979)
Cave and Karst Terminology - Australian Speleological Federation. Updated by others to 1996.
Updated PDF version (259KB)
KÓSA, A. (1967)
Szpeleológiai szakkifejezések, angol-magyar (kézirat gyanánt) - Budapest.
KÓSA, A. (1995/96) (with Chabert, C., Hazslinszky, T., Holzmann, H., Marek-Limagne, E., and Oldham, A.).
The Cavers' Living Dictionary - Five editions (GB, F, D, H) - Hungarian Speleological Society, ER-PETRO Ltd. Budapest.
KÓSA, A. (1997)
The Making of the Caver's Living Dictionary - Proceedings of the 12th International Congress of Speleology Vol. 5, pp. 129. La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
MAGYAR-angol-francia-német-orosz szpeleológiai szógyûjtemény - Budapest (UIS Congress).
KRAUSE, M. (1999)
Lexicon für Höhlenforscher - D-Bielefeld.
LIMAGNE, R.(1991, 1994)
Comment dit-on? (140 termes usuels en spéléologie traduits du français en: Albanais / Anglais / Allemand / Espagnol / Hongrois / Italien / Néerlandais / Polonais / Portugais / Roumain / Slovaque / Russe) - Ecole Française de Spéléologie. Lyon.
LOWE, D. & WALTHAM, A.(1995)
A Dictionary of Karst and Caves - Cave Studies Series Number 6, British Cave Research Association, London.
MOHR, C. E. & POULSON, T. L. (1966)
The Life of the Cave (Our Living World of Nature) - McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.
MONROE, W.H. (1970)
A Glossary of Karst Terminology. U.S. Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1899-K - U.S. Geological Survey, Washington DC.
PANOŠ, V. (2001)
Karsologická a speleologická terminologie: výkladový slovník s ekvivalenty ve slovenštině a jednacích jazycích Mezinárodní speleologické unie (UNESCO) (angličtina, francouzština, italština, němčina, ruština, španělština) - Žilina, Slovakia.
ROGLIĆ, J. (1974)
Contribution to Croatian Karst Terminology (Prilog hrvatskoj krškoj terminologiji). Carsus Iugoslaviae, 9/1, 1-72, JAZU, Zagreb.
Manuale di speleologia - Milano.
SWEETING, M. M. (1973)
Karst Landforms - Columbia University Press, New York.
Terminologiya Karsta (in Russian) - Moscow.
TRIMMEL, H. (1965)
Speläologisches Fachwörterbuch - Wien.
UNESCO (1972)
Glossary and Multilingual Equivalents of 227 Karst Terms. (First preliminary edition) - Paris. [PDF version (2.7MB)]
VENKOVITS, I. (1960)
Karsztnevezéktani vita - Karszt és Barlangkutatás, I. évf, 1959, pp 67. Budapest.
WINKELHÖFER, P. & R. (1992)
Speläo-signaturen (deutsch, englisch, russich). Dresden.
...and many more - et encore beaucoup d'autres - ...u.v.a. - ...és még sok más

Other glossary web links

Just to show we are not narrow-minded ....

Please let us know of any further links or changes.


The Dictionary is of course an ongoing joint effort by many people around the world who are helping it to grow by adding new concepts, words, and even whole new languages, and by tuning the existing list. Everyone making a contribution will be acknowledged.

Those who have contributed significantly to this project to date.
AKSAMOVIC, Uros (RS)Serbian 2009
ANDREYCHOUK, Viacheslav (PL & UK)Polish helper 2013; Ukrainian & Russian 2014
CARREÑO, Rafael (VE)Spanish 1999
CIGNA, Arrigo (IT)Latin 2013
CHABERT, Claude (FR)French 1998
EDALATIAN-ARASTEH, Sarah (IR)Farsi/Persian helper 2009
FEKETE, Alexandru (RO)Romanian 1999
FERRARI, Graziano (IT)Italian 2000
FORD, Derek (CA)Polish helper 2013
GARAŠIČ, Mladen (HR)Croatian 2006; current Dictionary Chairman
GOTO, Satoshi (JP)Japanese helper 2013
GOUTIER, Silvia (NL)Dutch 2012
HAHSEMINEZHAD, Saeed (IR)Farsi/Persian 2009
HARYONO, Eko (ID)Indonesian helper 2012
ISHIKAWA, Norihiko (JP)Japanese helper 2013
ITODA, Naofumi (JP)Japanese helper 2013
KAMPOLIS, Isidoros (GR)Greek 2013
KLIMCHOUK, Alexander (UK)Ukrainian & Russian helper 2014
KÓSA, Attila (HU)Hungarian 1998 and original Dictionary; original Dictionary Chairman
KRAWCZYK, Wiesława (PL)Polish 2013; Ukrainian & Russian helper 2014
LAICONAS, Erikas (LT)Lithuanian 2013
LUNDBERG, Johannes (SE)Swedish 2012
MAREK-LIMAGNE, Edit (FR,HU)French, Hungarian 1998
MATTHEWS, Peter (AU)Database system & web pages
MIHEVC, Andrej (SI)Slovenian 2013
OBRUK Cave Research Group (TR)Turkish 2017
OKOUCHI, Ayumi (JP)Japanese 2013
OLDHAM, Tony (GB)English 1998
SANDERS, Elvira (NL)Dutch helper 2012
SCHUSTER, Roger (DE)German 1998
SJÖBERG, Rabbe (SE)Swedish 2012
SUNKAR, Arzyana (ID)Indonesian 2012
Speleo Club du Liban (LB)Arabic 2017
de SWART, Herman (NL)Dutch helper 2012
TACHEV, Ivo (BG)Bulgarian 2009
THEODOSIADIS, Thomas (GR)Greek helper 2013
TRAVASSOS, Luiz Eduardo Panisset (BR)Portuguese 1999 and 2009
YOKOTA, Kakuteru (JP)Japanese helper 2013
YULIANTO, Bagus (ID)Indonesian helper 2012
URATA, Kensaku (JP)Japanese helper 2013
URBANI, Franco (VE)Spanish helper 1999
WOO, Kyung Sik (KR)Korean 2013

Others who have made suggestions for additions or corrections to date:
ASHBROOK, Bert (US). The Greater Allentown Grotto. Jun 1998.
BARTHOLEYNS, Jean-Pierre (BE). Apr 2015.
BISCHOFF, Brian (IS). Oct 1999.
BLANCHARD, David (FR). Mar 2015.
CARRANZA, Carlos Goicoechea (CR). Jun 2013.
CIGNA, Arrigo (IT). Mar 2013.
CRYSTAL, Bonnie (US). Speleoradiology Western Survey. May 1998.
CSER, Ferenc (AU). Jun 1998.
DE SCHRYVER, Jacques (FR). Aug 1999.
ELLIOTT, Bill (US). Missouri Department of Conservation. Jun 1998.
ESKES, David (NL). Speleo Nederland. May 1998.
FERRARI, Graziano (IT). May 1998.
GARAŠIČ, Mladen (HR). May 1998.
HILL, Carol (US). May 1998.
HILL, Paul (US). May 1998.
LARIO, Javier (ES). Departamento de Geologia, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales. Jun 1998.
LABEGALINI, José Ayrton (BR). May 1999.
MALECKAR, Franci (SI) Feb. 1999
MINTON, Mark (US) Jul 2000.
ONAC, Bogdan (US) Jun 2013.
PRICE, Liz (GB). Apr 99, Jun 1999.
PROFFITT, Merrilee (US). May 1998.
SMITH, Garry (AU). Apr 2014.
STEVEN, Linda (FR). Aug 1999.
WADDINGTON, Andy (GB). Northern Pennine Club & Cambridge Univ. C.C. Jun 1998.


The updates since the first edition can now be found on the Updates History page.

17-May-1998 Edition 1:
Initial on-line version with English, French, German and Hungarian.

[ Top ] [ Co-ordination ] [ Feedback ] [ References ] [ Links ] [ UISIC Home ] [ UIS Home ]
[ The Dictionary ] [ Contributing a new language ] [ New ]

This page:
Working Group Chairman: Mladen GARAŠIČ
Dictionary system: Peter MATTHEWS