• 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

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.