• synonyms


[kuh-dav-er-uh s]
See more synonyms for cadaverous on Thesaurus.com
  1. of or like a corpse.
  2. pale; ghastly.
  3. haggard and thin.
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Origin of cadaverous

First recorded in 1620–30, cadaverous is from the Latin word cadāverōsus like a corpse. See cadaver, -ous
Related formsca·dav·er·ous·ly, adverbca·dav·er·ous·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

ashen, blanched, bloodless, consumptive, dead, deathly, emaciated, gaunt, ghastly, ghostly, haggard, pallid, peaked, sallow, shadowy, sick, spectral, thin, wan, wasted

Examples from the Web for cadaverous

Historical Examples

  • There was a silence in which Caradoc stood tall and cadaverous as a ghost.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock

    T. S. Stribling

  • Save for the extreme, cadaverous pallor, there was no mark of death.

    Salvage in Space

    John Stewart Williamson

  • In the small circle of light a long, cadaverous face appeared.

    The End of Time

    Wallace West

  • "Of a pale and cadaverous aspect," continued the gen-d'arme.

    The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Complete

    Charles James Lever (1806-1872)

  • I dressed, looking like the cadaverous ghost I felt myself to be.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

British Dictionary definitions for cadaverous


  1. of or like a corpse, esp in being deathly pale; ghastly
  2. thin and haggard; gaunt
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Derived Formscadaverously, adverbcadaverousness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for cadaverous


"looking like a corpse," early 15c., from Latin cadaverosus "corpse-like," from cadaver (see cadaver). Related: Cadaverously; cadaverousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cadaverous in Medicine


  1. Suggestive of death; corpselike.
  2. Having a corpselike pallor.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.