noun, often attributive
ca·​det | \ kə-ˈdet How to pronounce cadet (audio) \

Definition of cadet

1a : a younger brother or son
b : youngest son
c : a younger branch of a family or a member of it
2a : one in training for a military or naval commission especially : a student in a service academy
b : 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
3 slang : pimp

Other Words from cadet

cadetship \ kə-​ˈdet-​ˌship How to pronounce cadet (audio) \ noun

Examples of cadet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The cadet, whose name was redacted in the memos, identified himself in an interview with the Chronicle as Emare Butler. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 31 July 2022 Cruz is a former U.S. Army Junior ROTC cadet and former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he was expelled a year before the shooting for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. Brian Bushard, Forbes, 18 July 2022 MacKenzie Wilson, a cadet from Oregon State University, was hurt in the accident around 12:30 p.m. at Saylor Creek Range, part of the Mountain Home Air Force Base range complex, the base said in a statement Sunday. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 27 June 2022 This film adaption of Thomas Harris’s classic novel follows a young FBI cadet named Clarice (Jodie Foster) who needs help tracking down a serial killer. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 22 June 2022 The Polaris Academy offers cadet training that is not part of, or is above and beyond, the OPOTC curriculum, including communication skills, community relations, de-escalation techniques, and etc. Rich Heileman, cleveland, 17 June 2022 In Lightyear, which stars Evans as the inspiration behind Andy's Buzz Lightyear action figure in the Toy Story films, Palmer voices his fellow cadet Izzy Hawthorne. Whitney Perry, Glamour, 16 June 2022 The job started with a few days of intense training in Kansas City, where cadet flight attendants would learn everything from aircraft part names to emergency medical procedures, as well as the safety protocols of seven different aircraft. Jacopo Prisco, CNN, 9 June 2022 As a student at Tuskegee Institute's Aircraft Maintenance program, Herring began active duty status on Dec. 27, 1944, as an aviation cadet. Haleigh Kochanski, The Arizona Republic, 31 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of cadet

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cadet

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

Note: 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-.

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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cadet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for cadet


ca·​det | \ kə-ˈdet How to pronounce cadet (audio) \

Kids Definition of cadet

: a student in a military school or college

More from Merriam-Webster on cadet

Nglish: Translation of cadet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cadet for Arabic Speakers


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