Distinguishing Corpse from Cadaver

Key Difference – Corpse vs Cadaver

Corpse and cadaver are two words that refer to a dead body. Although there is no difference between corpse and cadaver in terms of their meaning, there is a subtle difference between them in usage. Though both these words are not much used in common parlance, corpse is more common than cadaver. Furthermore, the term cadaver is mostly used in medicine and law. This is the key difference between corpse and cadaver.

What is a Corpse?

Corpse refers to a dead body. In the past, the term corpse also used to refer to dead animals, but now corpse is specifically used to refer to the dead body of a human being. Although this word can be seen in common usage, it is also used in the legal and medical context. Observe the following example sentences to understand the usage of this word more clearly.
The young boys have found a corpse in the forest.
He looked back at the corpses and the unconscious bodies of the soldiers.
The ground was strewn with corpses of the villagers.
The medical examiner dissected the corpse to identify the cause of death.
There was no damage to his corpse; he looked just as if he was sleeping. 
The police received a call about a discovery of a corpse from a private residence.
The battleground was strewn with corpses of the soldiers.

What is a Cadaver?

A cadaver is also a dead body. However, this word is a special jargon that is used in the field of medicine and forensic science. It is rarely used out of these contexts. Cadaver typically refers to a body that is intended to be dissected. Cadaver may sound impersonal and scientific since it is used for a body whose identity is not important. Look at the usage of this word in the following example sentences.
The medical students are trained to dissect cadavers.
Investigations about the missing cadavers are still going on. 
The surgeon performed a variety of tests on the cadaver.
He has dissected three male cadavers, but he was yet to dissect a female cadaver.
Three of the female cadavers were missing some vital organs.
The hospital donated five cadavers to the research center.
The medical scholars are dissecting a cadaver.

What is the difference between Corpse and Cadaver?

Corpse: Corpse refers to a dead body, especially that of a human being.
Cadaver: Cadaver refers to a dead human body that is intended to be dissected.
Corpse: This word is used in common parlance, literature, law, and medicine.
Cadaver: This term is specifically used in medical science.
Corpse: Corpse may sound more evocative and personal than cadaver.
Cadaver: Cadaver may sound impersonal and technical than corpse.
Image Courtesy:
“Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 007”  By Rembrandt – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 
“Urs Graf Schrecken des Kriegs 1521” By Urs Graf – Hans Peter Treichler: Abenteuer Schweiz. Geschichte in Jahrhundertschritten. Lausanne 1991, S. 132. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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