from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The dead body of an animal, especially one slaughtered for food.
  • n. The body of a human.
  • n. Remains from which the substance or character is gone: the carcass of a once glorious empire.
  • n. A framework or basic structure: the carcass of a burned-out building.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Body of a dead animal.
  • n. Body of a dead human.
  • n. Framework of a structure, especially one not normally seen.
  • n. An early incendiary ship-to-ship projectile consisting of an iron shell filled with saltpetre, sulphur, resin, turpentine, antimony and tallow with vents for flame.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A dead body, whether of man or beast; a corpse; now commonly the dead body of a beast.
  • n. The living body; -- now commonly used in contempt or ridicule.
  • n. The abandoned and decaying remains of some bulky and once comely thing, as a ship; the skeleton, or the uncovered or unfinished frame, of a thing.
  • n. A hollow case or shell, filled with combustibles, to be thrown from a mortar or howitzer, to set fire to buldings, ships, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To erect or set up the carcass or framework of a building or a ship.
  • n. The dead body of an animal; a corpse: not now commonly applied to a dead human body, except in contempt.
  • n. The body of a living animal, especially of a large animal; in contempt, the human body.
  • n. Figuratively, the decaying remains of a bulky thing, as of a boat or ship.
  • n. The frame or main parts of a thing unfinished, or without ornament, as the timberwork of a house before it is lathed or plastered or the floors are laid, or the keel, ribs, etc., of a ship.
  • n. An iron case, shell, or hollow vessel filled with combustible and other substances, as gunpowder, saltpeter, sulphur, broken glass, turpentine, etc., thrown from a mortar or howitzer, and intended to set fire to a building, ship, or wooden defense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the dead body of an animal especially one slaughtered and dressed for food


Middle English carcas, from Anglo-Norman carcais and Medieval Latin carcasium.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Dated from the late 13th Century CE; from Anglo-Norman carcois, possibly related to Old French charcois. (Wiktionary)



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  • Etymology: Middle French carcasse, alteration of Old French carcois, perhaps from carquois, carquais quiver, alteration of tarquais, from Medieval Latin tarcasius, from Arabic tarkash, from Persian tirkash, from tir arrow (from Old Persian tigra pointed) + -kash bearing (from kashdan to pull, draw, from Avestan karsh-

    August 30, 2009

  • carcase is an older spelling

    June 12, 2009