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

Synonyms for cavalcade


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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
Recent Examples on the Web But even amid this cavalcade of voter restrictions, a new bill proposed by a GOP legislator in Arizona stands out -- and not in a good way. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 28 Jan. 2022 Initially, Disney introduced the character cavalcade, a sort pop-up mini-parade. Dewayne Bevil,, 7 Apr. 2022 Witness the awkwardness that spoiled Coach K’s epic home court sendoff party earlier this month—a night on which Duke blew a lead to lose to unranked North Carolina in front of a cavalcade of former Blue Devil stars and celebrities. Laine Higgins, WSJ, 14 Mar. 2022 The company’s cavalcade of kicks kicks off with a running shoe called Blissfeel. Boone Ashworth, Wired, 12 Mar. 2022 Cindric came out on top after a cavalcade of mistakes and adjustments at Fontana. Greg Beacham, ajc, 26 Feb. 2022 Afterward, Justine slips back into her dress and continues her cavalcade of nonsensical behavior. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, 15 Dec. 2021 To the uninitiated, Mardi Gras can feel like a cavalcade of festive parades and celebrations shrouded in purple, green, and gold. Erin Cavoto, Country Living, 28 Jan. 2022 The latest instance came Monday afternoon, roughly 90 minutes before the Utah-Ohio State Disneyland cavalcade began, with Boise State opting out of the Arizona Bowl. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of cavalcade

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for cavalcade

borrowed from French, going back to Middle French, probably borrowed from Italian cavalcata "journey made by horse, group riding horseback, procession of riders accompanying a distinguished person, or formed on the occasion of a ceremony," from cavalcare "to ride horseback" (going back to Late Latin caballicāre, from Latin caballus "work horse, gelding" + Late Latin -icāre, verb formative) + -ata, suffix of action and result; caballus, of obscure origin, perhaps a loanword from a language of the Balkans or Anatolia — more at -ade

Note: The French word probably belongs with other loanwords dealing with military and equestrian matters taken from Italian in the late 15th and 16th centuries, though early instances may also derive from Occitan cavalcada, already attested by ca. 1300. — The earliest evidence for the etymon of caballus is a Greek personal name Kaballâs in a 4th-century b.c. inscription from Ephesus; kaballeîon "work horse" is attested a century later in an inscription from Callatis on the Black Sea coast of southeastern Romania. Neither the word nor any derivative became generally used in Byzantine or Modern Greek. Latin caballus is first attested in a line from a satire of Gaius Lucilius (2nd century b.c.), where it has a definite derogatory connotation: "succusatoris taetri tardique caballi" ("of a jolter, a foul, slow caballus"). In the Romance languages caballus displaced classical Latin equus (descended from the Indo-European etymon; see equine) as a neutral word for a horse, though the progeny of the feminine form equa continued in use in some areas as a word for "mare" (Old French ive, ieve, Spanish yegua, Portuguese egoa, Romanian iapă, etc.). As a loanword into Insular Celtic languages, caballus appears to have had a variant *cappil(l)us (whence Old Irish capall, Welsh ceffyl). Inviting comparison with caballus are a number of words more remote in phonetic form, which cannot be reduced to a single borrowed source: Old Church Slavic kobyla "mare" (in all Slavic languages, as Russian kobýla, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian kòbila, etc.; a loanword and not an internal Slavic formation according to Oleg Trubačev, Proisxoždenie nazvanij domašnix životnyx v slavjanskix jazykax, Moscow, 1960); kevel "well-bred fast horse" in the medieval Turkic dialect recorded in the dictionary of Maḥmūd al-Kāšġarī (11th century); Finnish heponen "horse," Estonian hobu, hobune.

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The first known use of cavalcade was in 1644

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Last Updated

23 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cavalcade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cavalcade


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)

More from Merriam-Webster on cavalcade

Nglish: Translation of cavalcade for Spanish Speakers


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