[kawr, kohr]

noun, plural corps [kawrz, kohrz] /kɔrz, koʊrz/.

  1. a military organization consisting of officers and enlisted personnel or of officers alone: the U.S. Marine Corps; corps of cadets.
  2. a military unit of ground combat forces consisting of two or more divisions and other troops.
a group of persons associated or acting together: the diplomatic corps; the press corps.
Printing. a Continental designation that, preceded by a number, indicates size of type in Didot points of 0.0148 inches (3.8 mm): 14 corps.
Obsolete. corpse.

Origin of corps

1225–75; Middle English corps, cors < Middle French < Latin corpus body; see corpse
Can be confusedcore corp. corps corpse corpus

Synonyms for corps Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for corps


noun plural corps (kɔːz)

a military formation that comprises two or more divisions and additional support arms
a military body with a specific functionintelligence corps; medical corps
a body of people associated togetherthe diplomatic corps

Word Origin for corps

C18: from French, from Latin corpus body
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 corps

late 13c., cors "body," from Old French cors "body, person, corpse, life" (9c.), from Latin corpus "body" (see corporeal). Sense in English evolved from "dead body" (13c.) to "live body" (14c.) to "body of citizens" (15c.) to "band of knights" (mid-15c.). The modern military sense (1704) is from French corps d'armée (16c.), picked up in English during Marlborough's campaigns.

French restored the Latin -p- in 14c., and English followed 15c., but the pronunciation remained "corse" at first and corse persisted as a parallel formation. After the -p- began to be sounded (16c. in English), corse became archaic or poetic only.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper