or car·case

[kahr-kuh s]
See more synonyms for carcass on
  1. the dead body of an animal.
  2. Slang. the body of a human being, whether living or dead.
  3. the body of a slaughtered animal after removal of the offal.
  4. anything from which life and power are gone: The mining town, now a mere carcass, is a reminder of a past era.
  5. an unfinished framework or skeleton, as of a house or ship.
  6. the body of a furniture piece designed for storage, as a chest of drawers or wardrobe, without the drawers, doors, hardware, etc.
  7. the inner body of a pneumatic tire, resisting by its tensile strength the pressure of the air within the tire, and protected by the tread and other parts.
verb (used with object)
  1. to erect the framework for (a building, ship, etc.).

Origin of carcass

1250–1300; < Middle French carcasse < Italian carcassa; replacing Middle English carkeis, carkois < Anglo-French, corresponding to Medieval Latin carcosium; ultimately origin obscure
Related formscar·cass·less, adjective

Synonym study

1. See body. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for carcass

remains, corpse, skeleton, hulk, cadaver, body, framework, shell, stiff, mort

Examples from the Web for carcass

Contemporary Examples of carcass

Historical Examples of carcass

  • Now and then, a drowned sheep, and once the carcass of a cow, floated past.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Right by the carcass was another that jumped about in the moonlight in a foolish way.

    The Biography of a Grizzly

    Ernest Seton-Thompson

  • Where the carcass is the vultures are on deck, or words similar.

    Cy Whittaker's Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • When the hare is caught the carcass should be given to the young hounds to tear in pieces.

  • Cut a soft-wood board core, making it some smaller than outline of carcass.


    Leon Luther Pray

British Dictionary definitions for carcass



  1. the dead body of an animal, esp one that has been slaughtered for food, with the head, limbs, and entrails removed
  2. informal, usually facetious, or derogatory a person's body
  3. the skeleton or framework of a structure
  4. the remains of anything when its life or vitality is gone; shell

Word Origin for carcass

C14: from Old French carcasse, of obscure origin
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 carcass

late 13c., from Anglo-French carcois, from or influenced by Old French charcois (Modern French carcasse) "trunk of a body, chest, carcass," and Anglo-Latin carcosium "dead body," all of uncertain origin. Not used of humans after c.1750, except contemptuously. Italian carcassa probably is a French loan word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper