cad·​re ˈka-ˌdrā How to pronounce cadre (audio) ˈkä- How to pronounce cadre (audio)
 especially British  ˈkä-də,
: a nucleus or core group especially of trained personnel able to assume control and to train others
broadly : a group of people having some unifying relationship
a cadre of lawyers
a cadre of technicians
: a cell of indoctrinated leaders active in promoting the interests of a revolutionary party
: a member of a cadre
: frame, framework
… the current specialisms and cadres of our university curricula …H. M. McLuhan

Did you know?

A wise man named Huey Lewis once sang that “it’s hip to be square.” As lexicographers—a hip cadre if ever there was one—we heartily agree with this sentiment, not least because the song (as performed by Lewis and his trusted cadre of bandmates dubbed “the News”) prompts us to ponder an etymological descendent (via French and Italian) of the Latin word for square, quadrum: cadre. Squares being a logical and standard shape for frames (as of window and picture varieties), it’s easy to understand why French speakers and later English speakers adopted cadre as a word meaning “frame.” A sense of cadre referring to a metaphorical framework for something (such as a novel or curriculum) soon developed. And if you consider a group of officers in a military regiment as the framework that holds things together for the unit, you’ll understand how yet another sense of cadre, referring to a nucleus of trained personnel, arose. Military leaders and their troops are well-trained and work together as a unified team, which may explain why cadre is now sometimes used more generally to refer to any group of people who have some kind of unifying characteristic—such as a belief in the heart of rock and roll, or perhaps the power of love.

Examples of cadre in a Sentence

claims that the problem will never be solved within the existing cadre of the state bureaucracy
Recent Examples on the Web Sepp is mindful that this cadre of future filmmakers need a burgeoning industry in which to work, but is optimistic, having seen private investment increase. John Bleasdale, Variety, 18 Nov. 2023 Then a new cadre of cadets finished their training course and joined Simon’s unit. Dan Senor, Fortune, 5 Nov. 2023 The plaintiffs’ cadre has greatly expanded, with the addition of 15 blue states, including California. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2023 But a cadre of volunteers at Nvidia is using it, and there are some positive indications, Dally said. IEEE Spectrum, 31 Oct. 2023 Waiting for the players was a cadre of officials, including Luis Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, who stood next to Queen Letizia and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Sofía. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2023 Photos released by North Korean state media show Kim is traveling with his foreign minister, top military officials and senior cadres in his weapons sector, indicating that munitions transfers could be on the summit agenda. Jon Herskovitz,, 12 Sep. 2023 The Israel-Palestinian conflict has been ongoing for decades, and to a large extent, it’s involved the same cadre of men. Colleen Long, Fortune, 18 Oct. 2023 Zelensky, appearing in his trademark army colors and a black sweatshirt, arrived to attend a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a cadre of dozens of nations organized by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Siobhán O'Grady, Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cadre.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Italian quadro, from Latin quadrum square — more at quarrel

First Known Use

1763, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of cadre was in 1763


Dictionary Entries Near cadre

Cite this Entry

“Cadre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on cadre

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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