October 23, 2012
cadre (noun)
\KAD-ray\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : frame, framework2 : a group of people having some unifying relationship
How do you use it?
The agent was part of a cadre of international spies.
Are you a word wiz?

English borrowed "cadre" from another language. Which language do you think that was?

The correct answer is D, French. Let's place "cadre" within its historical framework. The word "cadre" was borrowed into English in the early 1800s from the French word "cadre," which meant "framework." That French word came ultimately from the Latin word "quadrum," meaning "square." It's not hard to see the link between "square" and "framework," but how did we get from "framework" to "a unified group of people"? In English, we used the early "framework" meaning to refer to the essential members of a group. These people form the "framework" of that group.
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