\ˈkad \

Definition of cad 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bus conductor

2 : a man who acts with deliberate disregard for another's feelings or rights a selfish cad

Definition of CAD (Entry 2 of 2)

1 computer-aided design

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Synonyms for cad

Synonyms: Noun

bastard, beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, vermin

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The Origins of Cad

You might wonder how the word cad came to refer to both a bus conductor and a disagreeable man. Were the bus drivers of yore thought to be particularly unsavory characters? Not necessarily, and there is a reasonable explanation for how we arrived at the most common meaning of this word today (that is, the one for a badly-behaved man).

In 18th-century Scotland, caddie had the meaning “one that waits about for odd jobs.” Shortened to cad, this word took on the additional senses “an unbooked coach passenger” (one who, presumably, waited about for a ride) and “an unskilled assistant or laborer.” The “unbooked passenger” meaning seems to have led to the “omnibus conductor” one. The “odd job-seeker” or “unskilled laborer” sense, for its part, developed into the “disagreeable man” sense at Oxford University, where students applied cad in a dismissive fashion to job-seeking townsmen whom they considered vulgar.

Examples of cad in a Sentence


He is a cad, not a gentleman. he's the type of cad who readily bad-mouths every girl who's ever dumped him

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Right now, there’s no clear details about whether there will be any changes to the company’s product lineup, which included a wide array of memory cads, card readers, SSDs, and USB flash drives. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "Lexar’s making a glorious return to the world of flash storage," 17 Aug. 2018 Concomitantly, Trevor Howard’s Wagner, in this full-length cut, is not the usual cartoon cad. Joseph Horowitz, WSJ, "A Momentous Wagnerian Film," 15 June 2018 Connecticut Sunrise The sun raises a brush over a wash of Payne's gray, swabs the oak cad orange, drips leaves on drop cloth grass. Hartford Courant,, "The Poems Of Aaron Caycedo-Kimura: Honoring Ones Parents," 13 June 2018 Is there any singer in the world better at playing the heartbroken cad than blackbear? Kat Bein, Billboard, "DVBBS & blackbear Got Beats You Can't Get Over With 'IDWK': Listen," 1 June 2018 Roxy’s mother and stepfather fly to Paris to plead with Roxy to divorce the cad and return to Santa Barbara. WSJ, "Five Best: Jenny Allen," 13 Apr. 2018 Eva might meet the perfect guy (Jason Lewis), but can't break the spell of her attraction to cads, or embrace her 40-something body as-is. Amy Nicholson,, "'Half Magic' review: Heather Graham casts a spell in her writing-directing debut," 22 Feb. 2018 Hanks, meanwhile is having a ball as Bradlee, a charming and crass cad with a mission and an army of capable reporters trying to get the story. Lindsey Bahr, kansascity, "In ‘The Post,’ Spielberg, Streep and Hanks deliver," 11 Jan. 2018 Her depiction of Hanna Glawari — the widow of the title, who is sought-after by cads and diplomats alike for her inherited wealth — had low-key charm. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Merry Widow’ at the Met, Its Charm Exhausted," 15 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cad


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cad


English dialect, unskilled assistant, short for Scots caddie

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More Definitions for cad



English Language Learners Definition of cad

: a rude and selfish man

Medical Definition of CAD 

coronary artery disease

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Comments on cad

What made you want to look up cad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


full of whispering sounds

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