- A dead body; especially the corpse of a human to be dissected.
The etymology is uncertain, but it is presumed to be derived from the Latin verb cadō (“‘I fall’”), as a euphemism for dying. This etymology is found as early as ca. AD 200 in the writings of Tertullian, who associated cadaver to cadendo. However, it does not account for the "-ver" ending of the word. (*Citation also needed for a reference in Oxford Dictionary.)
There is another etymology, which derives cadaver syllabically from the Latin expression caro data vermibus. This etymology, more popular in Romance countries, can be traced back as early as the Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, but it suffers from lack of ancient attestation.
- cadāverōsus (seemingly dead)
- Tertullian. On the Resurrection of the Flesh. Chapter 18.
Quote: “So that it is the flesh which falls by death; and accordingly it derives its name, cadaver, from cadendo.” de:cadaver