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corporal1

[kawr-per-uh l, -pruh l]
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adjective
  1. of the human body; bodily; physical: corporal suffering.
  2. Zoology. of the body proper, as distinguished from the head and limbs.
  3. personal: corporal possession.
  4. Obsolete. corporeal; belonging to the material world.
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Origin of corporal1

1350–1400; Middle English corporall (< Anglo-French) < Latin corporālis bodily, equivalent to corpor- (stem of corpus corpus) + -ālis -al1
Related formscor·po·ral·i·ty, nouncor·po·ral·ly, adverb

Synonyms

See more synonyms for corporal on Thesaurus.com
1. material. See physical.

corporal2

[kawr-per-uh l, -pruh l]
noun
  1. Military.
    1. a noncommissioned officer ranking above a private first class in the U.S. Army or lance corporal in the Marines and below a sergeant.
    2. a similar rank in the armed services of other countries.
  2. (initial capital letter) a U.S. surface-to-surface, single-stage ballistic missile.
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Origin of corporal2

1570–80; < Middle French, variant of caporal (influenced by corporal corporal1) < Italian caporale, apparently contraction of phrase capo corporale corporal head, i.e., head of a body (of soldiers). See caput
Related formscor·po·ral·cy, cor·po·ral·ship, noun

corporal3

[kawr-per-uh l, -pruh l]
noun Ecclesiastical.
  1. a fine cloth, usually of linen, on which the consecrated elements are placed or with which they are covered.
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Origin of corporal3

1350–1400; Middle English corporalle < Medieval Latin corporale (pallium) eucharistic (altar cloth); replacing earlier corporas < Old French < Latin, as above
Also called communion cloth.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for corporal

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He asked for a corporal or a sergeant who could write and stand fire at the same time.

  • This, however, did not prevent him from calling lustily for the "corporal of the guard."

  • To the corporal's inquiry he replied that Ferry had just passed on.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • A corporal was shaking me and whispering "Make no noise; mount and fall in."

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • We've jammed it, corporal, but another good kick will fetch it; now!

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable


British Dictionary definitions for corporal

corporal1

adjective
  1. of or relating to the body; bodily
  2. an obsolete word for corporeal
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Derived Formscorporality, nouncorporally, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Latin corporālis of the body, from corpus body

corporal2

noun
  1. a noncommissioned officer junior to a sergeant in the army, air force, or marines
  2. (in the Royal Navy) a petty officer who assists the master-at-arms
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Derived Formscorporalship, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Old French, via Italian, from Latin caput head; perhaps also influenced in Old French by corps body (of men)

corporal3

corporale (ˌkɔːpəˈreɪlɪ)

noun
  1. a white linen cloth on which the bread and wine are placed during the Eucharist
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Word Origin

C14: from Medieval Latin corporāle pallium eucharistic altar cloth, from Latin corporālis belonging to the body, from corpus body (of Christ)
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 corporal

n.

lowest noncommissioned army officer, 1570s, from Middle French corporal, from Italian caporale "a corporal," from capo "chief, head," from Latin caput "head" (see capitulum). So called because he was in charge of a body of troops. Perhaps influenced by Italian corpo, from Latin corps "body." Or corps may be the source and caput the influence, as the OED suggests.

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adj.

"of or belonging to the body," late 14c., from Old French corporal (12c., Modern French corporel) "of the body, physical, strong," from Latin corporalis "pertaining to the body," from corpus (genitive corporis) "body" (see corps). Corporal punishment "punishment of the body" (as opposed to fine or loss of rank or privilege) is from 1580s. Related: Corporality.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper