[ kuh-dav-er ]
/ kəˈdæv ər /
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Definition of cadaver

a dead body, especially a human body to be dissected; corpse.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of cadaver

1350–1400; Middle English <Latin cadāver dead body, corpse; akin to cadere to fall, perish (see decay, chance)

synonym study for cadaver

See body.


ca·dav·er·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a cadaver?

A cadaver is a dead body, especially a dead human body.

The word cadaver is sometimes used interchangeably with the word corpse, but cadaver is especially used in a scientific context to refer to a body that is the subject of scientific study or medical use, such as one that will be dissected.

It’s sometimes used as a modifier (adjective) in phrases that involve cadavers. For example, cadaver tissue is tissue that has been harvested from a donor body. A cadaver dog is a dog that has been specially trained to track the scent of dead bodies in searches for missing persons.

Example: The cadavers are carefully preserved before they are prepared for dissection.

Where does cadaver come from?

The first records of the word cadaver come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin cadāver, meaning “corpse,” from the Latin verb cadere, meaning “to perish.”

One adjective form of cadaver is cadaverous, but it’s not used in a technical way. Cadaverous is used to describe a person who looks as if they were dead, such as someone who looks especially thin, pale, or bony. It’s typically used in fiction stories—it wouldn’t be nice to call a real person cadaverous.

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What are some other forms related to cadaver?

  • cadaverous (adjective)
  • cadaveric (adjective)
  • cadaverlike (adjective)

What are some synonyms for cadaver?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cadaver



What are some words that often get used in discussing cadaver?


How is cadaver used in real life?

Cadaver is typically used in medical and forensic contexts.


Try using cadaver!

Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym of cadaver?

A. corpse
B. remains
C. limb
D. dead body

How to use cadaver in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cadaver

/ (kəˈdeɪvə, -ˈdɑːv-) /

med a corpse

Derived forms of cadaver

cadaveric, adjective

Word Origin for cadaver

C16: from Latin, from cadere to fall
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

Medical definitions for cadaver

[ kə-dăvər ]

A dead body, especially one intended for dissection.

Other words from cadaver

ca•daver•ic (-ər-ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.