cav·​al·​cade | \ ˌka-vəl-ˈkād How to pronounce cavalcade (audio) , ˈka-vəl-ˌkād \

Definition of cavalcade

1a : a procession (see procession entry 1 sense 1) of riders or carriages
b : a procession of vehicles or ships
2 : a dramatic sequence or procession : series a cavalcade of natural disasters

Keep scrolling for more

The History of Cavalcade

When cavalcade was first used in English, it meant "a horseback ride" or "a march or raid made on horseback." Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, used it this way in his 1647 History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England: "He had with some Troops, made a Cavalcade or two into the West." From there came the "procession of riders" meaning and eventual applications to processions in a broader sense. Cavalcade came to English via French from the Old Italian noun cavalcata, which in turn came from an Old Italian verb, cavalcare, meaning "to go on horseback." Ultimately, these words came from the Latin word caballus, meaning "horse." The combining form cade also appears in other words describing particular kinds of processions, such as motorcade or the less common aquacade.

Examples of cavalcade in a Sentence

The cavalcade arrived at the hotel. a cavalcade of antique cars a cavalcade of natural disasters
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Welcome to the Decade From Hell, our look back at an arbitrary 10-year period that began with a great outpouring of hope and ended in a cavalcade of despair. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Rise of the Permanent Protest," 1 Jan. 2020 When writer Chris Claremont and artists like John Byrne and Dave Cockrum took over, the X-Men transformed again—from lily-white WASPs to a colorful cavalcade of mutants from across the world. Christian Holub,, "The best comics of 2019," 20 Dec. 2019 State media report 40% of the weapons displayed in the cavalcade had never previously appeared in public. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "China’s High-Tech Progress Isn’t All Peaceful—Data Sheet," 2 Oct. 2019 In all of Wilton’s cavalcade of wonders, to my mind, no product can compete with its selection of decorative edible eyeballs: flat, white sclera of sugar marked with black to represent pupils, lids, and lashes. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies: From Murderous Mermaid Salt to Lamps Made Out of Croissants," 12 Dec. 2019 The cavalcade of in-home therapy sessions – applied behavior analysis, cognitive behavior, speech, and gross motor – parade through Hentz-Ville daily. David Kiefer, Executive Editorial Producer,, "Notre Dame Academy grad is volleyball star at Stanford who cherishes role as sister to autistic brother," 5 Dec. 2019 His supporters have whirled through a cavalcade of defenses over the past two months to explain why the president shouldn’t be impeached for inviting a foreign government to sabotage a domestic political rival. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Donald Trump and the Absolute Power Presidency," 18 Nov. 2019 From directors boycotting the ceremony in protest to a cavalcade of court trials arguing for and against a film's merits, Oscar history is replete with winners who faced skirmishes. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Oscars: International Film Race Puts Spotlight on Extreme Female Characters," 8 Nov. 2019 The United Kingdom’s annexation also provoked a spree of visits from a cavalcade of nationalists and adventurers who considered the rock their personal ultima Thule. Greg Noone, Smithsonian, "This Tiny, Uninhabitable Islet in the North Atlantic Has Been Attracting Fishermen and Adventurers for Decades," 30 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cavalcade.' 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 cavalcade

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cavalcade

French, ride on horseback, from Old Italian cavalcata, from cavalcare to go on horseback, from Late Latin caballicare, from Latin caballus horse; akin to Greek kaballeion horse, Middle Irish capall workhorse

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cavalcade

Time Traveler for cavalcade

Time Traveler

The first known use of cavalcade was in 1644

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about cavalcade

Statistics for cavalcade

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cavalcade.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cavalcade


How to pronounce cavalcade (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cavalcade

: a line of riders, vehicles, etc., moving along in the same direction
literary : a series of related things


cav·​al·​cade | \ ˌka-vəl-ˈkād How to pronounce cavalcade (audio) \

Kids Definition of cavalcade

1 : a procession especially of riders or carriages
2 : a dramatic series (as of related events)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cavalcade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cavalcade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cavalcade

Spanish Central: Translation of cavalcade

Nglish: Translation of cavalcade for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cavalcade

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


good-natured easy friendliness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!