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

In 1995, Shannon Faulkner, who’d won a 2 1/2-year legal battle to become the first female cadet at The Citadel, quit the South Carolina military college after less than a week, most of it spent in the infirmary., "This day in history," 18 Aug. 2019 The 30-minute puppet show is perfect for cadets ages 3-10 and their families. Luann Gibbs,, "Apollo 11 anniversary celebrations and events in Cincinnati, worth a drive," 16 July 2019 Cadet Whisenhunt was sentenced in 2017 to 21 years in prison after being found guilty of raping another cadet in her sleeping bag during a 2016 field training. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "West Point cadet returns after judges overturn conviction for raping classmate in sleeping bag," 7 June 2019 By Marisa Tati | Washington Post At least one cadet is dead and more than 20 others are injured after a military tactical vehicle crashed on Thursday near the U.S. Military Academy, the institution said. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "At least one dead in vehicle rollover near West Point," 6 June 2019 Twenty cadets at West Point military academy in New York were involved in a vehicle rollover accident, leaving at least one person with serious injuries. NBC News, "20 West Point cadets involved in vehicle rollover crash," 6 June 2019 US Army cadets accidentally injured the Air Force’s gyrfalcon. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 Jan. 2019 After completing the cadet program, he was hired as a reserve firefighter in Santa Ana. Daily Pilot, "New Fountain Valley fire chief’s local roots run deep," 26 July 2019 Such cadets and midshipmen have a short window of time to take advantage of their athletic talents during which playing professional sports is realistically possible. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings rookie Austin Cutting to be used for Air Force recruiting while being permitted to play in NFL," 21 July 2019

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

27 Aug 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!