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 : 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cadet

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

Examples of cadet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Back then, cadets weren’t allowed to have televisions or personal cellphones. Claire Gibson, Marie Claire, "Why My Relationship With Camo Print Is Messy," 29 Apr. 2019 Honestly, that’s already enough plot, except to say Jake cleans up his act, and becomes trainer of the young cadets prepping for the next big showdown. Michael Phillips,, "'Pacific Rim: Uprising' review: This time, it's impersonal," 21 Mar. 2018 Nevertheless, he was deemed fit to work as a cadet officer. Steve Karnowski, Fox News, "Ex-Minneapolis cop to go on trial April 1 in woman's death," 27 Sep. 2018 Those with children who are cadets at the academy feared the worst. Kejal Vyas, WSJ, "Car Bomb at Colombian Police Academy Kills 21," 18 Jan. 2019 In addition to Air Force cadets, the project team includes faculty, government, and industry specialists. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Air Force Academy Is Building Its Own 40-Foot Stealth Drone," 12 Dec. 2018 The bad news is that 13 businesses failed after, for various reasons, selling alcoholic beverages to underage cadets. The Aegis, "Unacceptable [Editorial]," 13 June 2018 Another option is joining the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), a volunteer organization that offers orientation flights and scholarships to motivated cadets. Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler, "Do You Have to Be Rich to Become a Pilot?," 7 Mar. 2018 Mayor Frank Jackson, Safety Director Michael McGrath and Cleveland police Chief Calvin Williams administered the oath of office to the cadets, who comprise the 138th class to graduate from Cleveland's police academy. Courtney Astolfi,, "Cleveland police welcome 42 police academy graduates to department's ranks," 2 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cadet

Dictionary Entries near cadet



cade oil


cadet blue

cadet cloth

cadet gray

Statistics for cadet

Last Updated

7 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cadet

The first known use of cadet was in 1610

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce cadet (audio) \

Kids Definition of cadet

: a student in a military school or college

Keep scrolling for more

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).


showing great care, attention, and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!