archaic : a human or animal body whether living or dead
: a dead body especially of a human being
: the remains of something discarded or defunct
the corpses of rusting cars

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Distinguishing Between Core and Corps and Corpse and Corp

These words are frequently confused despite their very different applications. Core and corps both rhyme with more. Core can be a noun, verb, or adjective, but is most often used as a noun to refer to the central or most important part of something (“the core of the issue,” “the Earth’s core”) or to the usually inedible central part of a fruit (“an apple core”). Corps has several meanings, all of which refer to some kind of group: “the Marine Corps,” “the press corps.” Its plural form is also spelled corps (“two corps of reporters”) but is pronounced just as cores is. Unlike in corps, The “p” in corpse and corp is pronounced. Corpse refers to a dead body, and especially to the dead body of a human. Corp is an abbreviation for “corporation” and “corporal.” Corp, corps, and corpse all trace back to the Latin word corpus, meaning “body.” The origin of core is obscure.

Example Sentences

a battlefield strewn with corpses the startling discovery of a corpse required a call to the police
Recent Examples on the Web There’s no more defenseless suspect, unable to tell their story or clear their name, than a corpse. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Nov. 2022 Carbon emissions from cremating one corpse is the equivalent of driving 470 miles (756 kilometers) in a car, according to one estimate. Katie Hunt, CNN, 12 Nov. 2022 Josh Nalley has now officially done both, after pretending to be a corpse on TikTok every day since October 2021 landed him a role in an upcoming episode of CSI: Vegas. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 27 Oct. 2022 The book is a despairing account of a boy and his father lurching across the cold, wretched, corpse-strewn, ashen landscape of a post-apocalyptic world. New York Times, 14 Oct. 2022 In September 1991, German hikers exploring the Tyrolean Alps between Italy and Austria made a shocking discovery: a human corpse. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Nov. 2022 Justin Williams, 24, was arrested Monday and charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of concealment of a human corpse in the death of D'Asia Johnson, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 9 Nov. 2022 Justin Williams, 24, was arrested Monday and arraigned on indictment charges of second-degree murder and concealment of a human corpse, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 8 Nov. 2022 Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Monday 24-year-old Justin Williams faces charges of second-degree murder and concealment of a human corpse in connection to the death of 22-year-old D'Asia Johnson. Tristan Balagtas, Peoplemag, 8 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'corpse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English cors, corps, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin corpus "body" — more at midriff

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of corpse was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near corpse

Cite this Entry

“Corpse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

: a dead body

Medical Definition

: a dead body especially of a human being

More from Merriam-Webster on corpse

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