Definition of cadet in English:



  • 1A young trainee in the armed services or police force.

    ‘an air cadet’
    • ‘One is a police cadet sent on an undercover mission so deep that only two people in the Hong Kong police force know that he isn't a disgraced cop who has joined the Triads.’
    • ‘Approximately 200 West Point cadets will march down the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 14 as part of France's Bastille Day parade.’
    • ‘Old soldiers from an array of regiments rubbed shoulders with young cadets as Bobby's coffin was carried through a guard of honour.’
    • ‘It very clearly displays the genius of a veteran professor obviously skilled in making the inscrutable scrutable to generations of Air Force Academy cadets.’
    • ‘The exercise followed a large display at the Rokeby Police Academy for Tasmanian emergency service workers and police cadets.’
    • ‘Navy had a few good runners but we had some good young officer cadets from ADFA that really cut them down.’
    • ‘Having attacked naval cadets, students, young children and now innocent senior citizens, the music business appears not to fear the consequences of its litigation.’
    • ‘Another award winner in the Ukraine was walking his dog when a police cadet pointed out that dogs in that area must be walked with a muzzle and a leash.’
    • ‘It would be reasonable to expect that the career track to senior executive service would be similar to that of the general officer for military cadets.’
    • ‘The committee hopes representatives from the army cadets, sea cadets and air cadets will join the parade.’
    • ‘When I started in York 34 years ago as a young police cadet, it was a different world.’
    • ‘The scheme aims to provide young midshipmen and officer cadets starting at ADFA with a home away from home.’
    • ‘The young cadets will get to learn more about the different police departments from Crime Scene Investigation and Community Safety to the Support Unit and Armed Response Teams.’
    • ‘As young West Point cadets, our motto was, ‘Duty, honor, country.’’
    • ‘He was one of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst cadets on their regular overseas exercise.’
    • ‘Broome schools, naval cadets, police rangers and other community groups paid tribute at the service by laying a wreath.’
    • ‘They are police cadets, young kids who are going to become policemen.’
    • ‘We follow a young naval cadet (they weren't called Midshipmen yet) who joined the Navy football team following its first loss to West Point.’
    • ‘In autumn sunshine, Royal British Legion stalwarts and young uniformed cadets stood shoulder to shoulder.’
    • ‘By comparison, military cadets are 1.7 times more socially active.’
    1. 1.1A boy or girl of 13–18 who undergoes voluntary army, navy, or air force training together with adventure training.
      • ‘The group - which includes army cadets, brownies, and members of Voluntary Action Orkney - were invited meet the Queen, who is touring the country to mark her Golden Jubilee.’
      • ‘More than 300 Wiltshire Army cadets spent an action-packed fortnight honing their skills in the heart of a Sussex forest.’
      • ‘Steven, a pupil at Wentworth High was an army cadet and his ambition was to become a soldier.’
      • ‘I suppose it wouldn't be so bad if in fact the monies it collects from everyday citizens, say a twelve-year old girl or naval cadets, actually went to the artists themselves.’
      • ‘On successful completion of training, a cadet becomes eligible to represent the Directorate at the national-level camp.’
      • ‘You all chose a challenge because you joined Army cadets - I hope this has been a good experience for you.’
      • ‘The suit - made from netting and hessian - took Karl, 16, an army cadet, more than 120-hours to complete.’
      • ‘Girl cadets are also taking part in large numbers at the camp.’
      • ‘The cadets undergo rigorous training in sailing, boat pulling and ship modelling.’
      • ‘Seven boys and 15 girl cadets also formed part of the contingent that marched down the Raj Path on January 26.’
      • ‘I like the job and I have always had a loud voice as I used to be involved with the army cadets.’
      • ‘Four teenage army cadets at an adventure camp were rushed to hospital after it is believed drinking water was spiked.’
      • ‘As many as 750 cadets, including 41 girls, from eight colleges and 21 schools participated in the event.’
      • ‘The cadets will gain excellent training in first aid and obtain a recognised qualification.’
      • ‘The crew and the training cadets from other countries kept changing through the journey so that more people could be trained and given such a valuable exposure.’
      • ‘Jessye hopes to join the army when she finishes school and is doing four TEE subjects, while balancing army cadets and tennis.’
      • ‘These factors have to a considerable extent led to large numbers of young officers quitting and cadets dropping out of military training establishments.’
      • ‘Both the boys and girls cadets teams will be competing and the top three teams in each group will qualify to the semi-final stages of the championships.’
      • ‘After two strenuous months of hard work, mid-term had finally arrived for the Army Academy High School cadets on Arduous Prime.’
      • ‘The organisers of the camp had packaged the daily schedule in such way that it inculcates a spirit of adventure among the participating cadets besides enhancing their leadership quality.’
    2. 1.2Australian A trainee or novice, especially a trainee journalist.
      • ‘We at this publication, we have almost 3,000 journalists, and 100 of them nationally are cadets.’
      • ‘But the attraction of the library was that it gave me time off for one subject at the university, and they encouraged the cadets, as they called them at the library, to take a university degree.’
      • ‘When Arthur left school he joined the Lands and Survey Department as a cadet, but spent most of his time down at the wharves sketching.’
      • ‘‘He and my brother started in journalism together as two little wide eyed cadets,’ she said.’
      • ‘Together they schooled fresh intakes of cadets and helped induct new sub-editors in the art of writing headlines, rewriting stories and slashing copy.’
      • ‘After a short time as a journalist and then as a public service cadet he decided on full time study at Canterbury University College.’
      • ‘We would do stories and do subbing and page makeup, so probably we learnt more than the fellows did as a cadet on the newspaper.’
      • ‘There is also an increasing tendency to take cadets from the multitude of journalism courses, which focus on the skills which are easily picked on the job, rather than expanding the outlook and knowledge of graduates.’
      • ‘My earliest memories in journalism are of editors and subs drumming into the cadets the need to never assume your readers knew what you were talking about in case somebody just dropped in from Mars and wanted to know what was going on in town.’
      • ‘I actually entered journalism myself as a cadet at the age of 17, then I went and got a university degree, then I returned to journalism.’
  • 2formal, archaic A younger son or daughter.

    ‘a cadet of the family of the Earls of Rosse’
    • ‘A cadet of the family of the Earls of Lincoln, he espoused, along with many other scions of noble houses, the royal side in the civil war.’
    • ‘At each corner was a tower of sufficient dimensions to make it the residence of some cadet of the family.’
    • ‘The man, probably a cadet of the family, held a small estate in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.’
    • ‘In the seventeenth century, the enforced celibacy of daughters and cadets already caused by the dowry inflation was further exacerbated by primogeniture and the triumph of the patrilineal family.’
    1. 2.1[usually as modifier]A junior branch of a family.
      ‘a cadet branch of the family’
      • ‘Control of the marriage of a female heiress by the cadet branches of the chiefly house, and the office of tutor or guardian within the clan, were partial answers.’
      • ‘She was born on March 6, 1903, Tokyo, the eldest daughter of the Prince who headed one of the eleven cadet branches of the Imperial Family.’
      • ‘Secondly, it assumes coat armour to be hereditary in the male lines of a family, with differences to distinguish cadet branches.’
      • ‘After the investiture in 1364 of Philip the Bold as duke of Burgundy, the duchy of Burgundy became a cadet branch of the French royal house of Valois.’
      • ‘He was born on 18 May 1872 into a famous family, a cadet branch of the Dukes of Bedford.’
      • ‘The Dawnays, notable soldiers, were a cadet branch of The Viscounts Downe, and set Whitfield on its course of wonderful house parties for all the field sports.’


Early 17th century (in cadet): from French, from Gascon dialect capdet, a diminutive based on Latin caput head. The notion ‘little head’ or ‘inferior head’ gave rise to that of ‘younger, junior’.