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A question of context: corpse, cadaver and dead body

14/1/19 A question of context: corpse, cadaver and dead body


These three words mean the same: a dead organism; the decision to use one and not the others depends on the context.
Cadaver and corpse can be considered medical or legal terms. Some emotional and cultural connotations can become a distraction when it comes, for example, to carrying out an autopsy; that’s why this terminology is preferred in many contexts. While the first term is more likely to be used in technical settings; the latter is commonly used to refer to ‘the thing that gets buried.’
Body or dead body are more generally used in news about crimes. Besides, people talk about the bodies or dead bodies of people they love and that have died (we won’t hear people talk about their relatives’ corpse or cadaver).

Medical students dissect the cadaver.

The corpse gets buried.

A police officer finds the dead body/body at the crime scene.


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