noun, often attributive
ca·​det | \kə-ˈdet \

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 : a student at a police academy : a person who is in training to become a police officer Police departments typically require cadets to pass a fitness test at the police academy, but not many require officers to stay in shape after that.— Christopher Swope

4 slang : pimp

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Other Words from cadet

cadetship \-​ˌship \ noun

Examples of cadet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

At 18 he was accepted as an aviation cadet and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 with the hope of becoming a pilot. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, "John M. 'Jack' Holmes, World War II B-24 crewman who later became an engineer, dies," 4 May 2018 Sabrina Carpenter Creates the Playlist to Her Life At the age of 19, Stallworth enlisted into the police department’s cadet program which sought to recruit people of color to career opportunities within law enforcement. Taylor Crumpton, Teen Vogue, "The Real-Life Story Behind "BlacKkKlansman"," 10 Aug. 2018 In 1976, the United States Military Academy at West Point included female cadets for the first time as 119 women joined the Class of 1980., "This day in history," 6 July 2018 The young men and women are from every college in the nation with an ROTC program and will be in charge of training younger cadets at Ft. Michael Clevenger, The Courier-Journal, "Army ROTC officers compete, connect and row at Waterfront Park," 23 June 2018 Just outside the fray are the siblings’ space-cadet half brother Connor (Alan Ruck) as well as Logan’s nephew Greg Hirsch (Nicholas Braun), an awkward young striver who shows up at the mogul’s 80th birthday party to beg for employment. Judy Berman, Time, "Succession Is a Bleak But Satisfying Portrait of Modern Wealth," 7 June 2018 One army veteran estimated that as many as 1,000 soldiers, including cadets and mid-ranking officers, have deserted in the past year and said that many more have requested formal discharges. John Otis And, WSJ, "‘Pressure Cooker’: Discontent Rises in Venezuela Military as Economy Dives," 18 May 2018 The now-viral photograph posted on the Braves’ Twitter account shows an unnamed fan holding an umbrella over the head of a Junior ROTC cadet. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Moving Photo of Braves Fan Holding Umbrella for Marine Corps Junior ROTC Cadet Goes Viral," 29 May 2018 At 13, Princess Elizabeth had a notable meeting with Prince Philip (then 18) on a tour of the Royal Naval College where the young prince was a naval cadet. Vogue, "The 20 Most Memorable Royal Weddings of All Time," 11 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of cadet

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cadet

French, from Gascon capdet chief, from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of Latin capit-, caput head — more at head

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Dictionary Entries near cadet



cade oil


cadet blue

cadet cloth

cadet gray

Statistics for cadet

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cadet

The first known use of cadet was in 1610

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More Definitions for cadet



English Language Learners Definition of cadet

: a student at a military school who is preparing to be an officer

: a person who is being trained to be a police officer


ca·​det | \kə-ˈdet \

Kids Definition of cadet

: a student in a military school or college

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More from Merriam-Webster on cadet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cadet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cadet

Spanish Central: Translation of cadet

Nglish: Translation of cadet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cadet for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cadet

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


a nest or breeding place

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