: a person in training for a military or naval commission
especially: a student in a service academy
: a student at a police academy : a person who is in training to become a police officer
During his swearing-in speech last August, the 54-year-old head cop pointed out that he still wears the same size uniform that he wore when he was a cadet at the Police Academy 34 years ago.—Bernard C. Parks
Recent Examples on the WebMore than 30 Ukrainian cadets, who were over 18, were sent to a navy base at the Russian port of Novorossiysk for training.—Carlotta Gall, New York Times, 27 Dec. 2023 An enormous mural mounted inside the college’s chapel depicts the VMI corps of cadets’ charge across the New Market battlefield.—Ian Shapira, Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2023 Last month, Tellez highlighted Hernandez’s career and experience in the city, saying that Hernandez had begun as an explorer — a police cadet program for high schoolers and older — at 16 years old.—Caleb Lunetta, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Jan. 2024 That also includes developing more effective leadership courses and increasing oversight of the cadet corps at the academy.—Susan Haigh, Fortune, 7 Dec. 2023 Her husband, a police cadet, had been shot in his uniform and left to die in a ditch outside Port-au-Prince, and LaFortune, fearing for her life, departed for the Bahamas.—Seth Freed Wessler, ProPublica, 7 Dec. 2023 Some test-takers were presented with a picture of the cadet chapel of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and asked about its aesthetic purpose.—Emma Green, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2023 Academy officials concluded the lead box was a time capsule, tucked in the monument by cadets in 1828, just 26 years after the school’s founding.—Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 1 Sep. 2023 The finds seem to confirm academy officials' theory that the box was left by cadets in 1828 or 1829, when the original monument, which honors Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, was completed.—CBS News, 31 Aug. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cadet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
borrowed from French, going back to Middle French, borrowed from Gascon (15th-century) capdet "chief, captain" (Old Occitan capdel), going back to Vulgar Latin *capitellus "leader," from Latin capit-, caput "head" + -ellus, diminutive suffix, originally from noun stems ending in -ul-, -r-, and -n- — more at head entry 1
Compare capital entry 3, caudillo. In the fifteenth century the younger sons of Gascon nobles, lacking an inheritance, were recruited into the French army to learn the military profession. In this context the Gascon word was loaned into French, but with the sense "younger son," the characteristic feature of these men to the French, rather than with its Gascon meaning. The Gascon connection was soon lost. The -t of capdet shows the peculiar outcome of Latin geminate -ll- in Gascon. The cluster -pd- was simplified in French to -d-.
from French cadet "a younger brother or son, one training for military service," derived from Latin capitellum, literally, "little (younger) head or chief," from caput "head" — related to cad, caddie, capital, captain, chief see Word History at caddie