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90s Slang You Should Know


[kuh-det] /kəˈdɛt/
a student in a national service academy or private military school or on a training ship.
a student in training for service as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Coast Guard.
Compare midshipman (def 1).
a trainee in a business or profession.
a younger son or brother.
the youngest son.
(formerly) a gentleman, usually a younger son, who entered the army to prepare for a subsequent commission.
Also called cadet blue. a grayish to strong blue color.
Also called cadet gray. a bluish-gray to purplish-blue color.
Slang. a pimp.
Origin of cadet
1600-10; < French < Gascon capdet chief, captain (referring to the younger sons of noble families); compare Old Provençal capdel headman < Latin capitellum literally, small head; see capital2
Related forms
cadetship, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cadetship
Historical Examples
  • In 1783 he obtained a cadetship in a French regiment at Strassburg.

  • Then you think neither could stand an examination for the cadetship?

    The Stokesley Secret Charlotte M. Yonge
  • And no boy who isn't in his right mind could get into the Point even if given a cadetship.

    Under Fire Charles King
  • You know well, dearest Frank, that in your service the highest in the land must pass the ordeal of cadetship.

    The Daltons, Volume II (of II) Charles James Lever
  • And within the first year of Michael's cadetship one such significant event occurred.

  • He had few advantages of early education and training, but in 1848 he obtained a cadetship at West Point.

  • Good-by, Ralph, and good luck to you in getting that cadetship.

    Starlight Ranch Charles King
  • Of course that got him dead stuck on himself, and then he goes and wins a cadetship here and thinks he can run the earth.

    A Cadet's Honor Upton Sinclair
  • From the time he donned short trousers he dreamed of a cadetship at West Point, and a commission under his own flag.

    Gentlemen Rovers E. Alexander Powell
  • Early in life he cherished a desire for a cadetship at West Point; this desire was gratified in 1848.

    Campfire and Battlefield Rossiter Johnson
British Dictionary definitions for cadetship


a young person undergoing preliminary training, usually before full entry to the uniformed services, police, etc, esp for officer status
a school pupil receiving elementary military training in a school corps
(in England and in France before 1789) a gentleman, usually a younger son, who entered the army to prepare for a commission
a younger son or brother
cadet branch, the family or family branch of a younger son
(in New Zealand) a person learning sheep farming on a sheep station
Derived Forms
cadetship, noun
Word Origin
C17: from French, from dialect (Gascon) capdet captain, ultimately from Latin caput head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cadetship



c.1610, "younger son or brother," from French cadet "military student officer," noun use of adjective, "younger" (15c.), from Gascon capdet "captain, chief, youth of a noble family," from Late Latin capitellum, literally "little chief," hence, "inferior head of a family," diminutive of Latin caput "head" (see capitulum). "The eldest son being regarded as the first head of the family, the second son the cadet, or little head" [Kitchin].

Apparently younger sons from Gascon noble families were sent to French court to serve as officers, which gave the word its military meaning. In English, the meaning "gentleman entering the military as a profession" is from 1650s, and that of "student at a military college" is from 1775.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cadetship



A despised person; geek: Ignore him, he's such a cadet (1980s+ Students)

Related Terms

space cadet

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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