\ ˈkad How to pronounce cad (audio) \

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

Synonyms for cad

Synonyms: Noun

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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

Noun 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 Clare learns to love his chaos while renovating him into a nicer cad. Darren Franich,, 11 May 2022 Amid a flurry of explosions that sounded like gunfire, several black-cad youths in balaclavas are seen shooting fireworks out of a tube and hauling off filming equipment including several black cases and a boom mic. Julian Sancton, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Mar. 2022 Quaid is a charming cad, but Erskine is the real star, never letting Alice become an easy stereotype of the 20-something sad sack looking to have it all. David Sims, The Atlantic, 8 Sep. 2021 Herbert had a reputation as a patron of the arts and was something of a cad. V.m. Braganza, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Aug. 2021 Scovel, too, is just right, a cad who is a reckless little boy., 16 June 2021 Tony Stark actually was a cad - 2021 would cancel his 2008 self - and Far From Home sanitizes his memory. Darren Franich,, 10 June 2021 Even casually substituting a zinc- or cad-plated bolt or washer for an unplated one calls for, respectively, a 15 or 25 percent reduction in applied torque, because the plating acts as a lubricant. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 21 May 2021 In the film, which was directed by Elaine May with a screenplay by Neil Simon, Mr. Grodin played a cad who, while on his honeymoon, falls in love with another woman, played by Cybill Shepherd. Washington Post, 18 May 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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Medical Definition of CAD

coronary artery disease

More from Merriam-Webster on cad

Nglish: Translation of cad for Spanish Speakers


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