from The Century Dictionary.

  • Pertaining or relating to the body; bodily; physical: as, corporal pain; corporal punishment.
  • Material; not spiritual; corporeal.
  • In zoology, pertaining to the thorax and abdomen, as distinguished from the head, wings, feet, and other appendages: as, corporal colors or marks.
  • Synonyms Physical, Corporeal, etc. See bodily.
  • noun Eccles., in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, the fine linen cloth spread on the altar during the celebration of the eucharist.
  • noun The lowest non-commissioned officer of a company of infantry, cavalry, or artillery, next below a sergeant. He has charge of a squad, places and relieves sentinels, and has a certain disciplinary control in camp and barracks.
  • noun Semotilus corporalis, a cyprinoid fish found in fresh waters east of the Alleghanies.
  • noun [lowercase] Three-ball billiards with the addition of a wooden pin which spots wherever it falls on the playing-surface of the table and counts if knocked down by the cue-ball after this has hit another ball.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Mil.) A noncommissioned officer, next below a sergeant. In the United States army he is the lowest noncommissioned officer in a company of infantry. He places and relieves sentinels.
  • noun a detachment such as would be in charge of a corporal for guard duty, etc.; hence, derisively, a very small number of persons.
  • noun an assistant corporal on private's pay.
  • noun (Naut.) a petty officer who assists the master at arms in his various duties.
  • noun A fine linen cloth, on which the sacred elements are consecrated in the eucharist, or with which they are covered; a communion cloth.
  • noun a solemn oath; -- so called from the fact that it was the ancient usage for the party taking it to touch the corporal, or cloth that covered the consecrated elements.
  • adjective Belonging or relating to the body; bodily.
  • adjective (law) punishment applied to the body of the offender, including the death penalty, whipping, and imprisonment.
  • adjective Having a body or substance; not spiritual; material. In this sense now usually written corporeal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective archaic Having a physical, tangible body; corporeal.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the body, especially the human body.
  • noun military A non-commissioned officer army rank with NATO code OR-4. The rank below a sergeant but above a lance corporal and private.
  • noun A non-commissioned officer rank in the police force, below a sergeant but above a private or patrolman.
  • noun ecclesiastical The white linen cloth on which the elements of the eucharist are placed; a communion cloth.

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

  • adjective possessing or existing in bodily form
  • noun a noncommissioned officer in the Army or Air Force or Marines
  • adjective affecting or characteristic of the body as opposed to the mind or spirit


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin corporālis, from Latin corpus ("body"); compare corporeal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Corrupted from the French caporal, from the Italian caporale, from capo ("head, leader") from the Latin caput ("head").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Latin corporale, the neuter of corporalis representing the doctrine of transubstantiation in which the eucharist becomes the body of Christ.


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  • Also a word from Christian liturgy: "a cloth on which the chalice and paten are placed during the celebration of the Eucharist.

    ORIGIN Middle English : from medieval Latin corporale (pallium) ‘body (cloth),’ from Latin corpus, corpor- ‘body.’ (Oxford American English Dictionary)

    In practice, it is the white linen cloth that is laid atop the altar (above the fair linen that covers the whole altar) that functions as the "landing pad" for the Holy Spirit -- that is, it defines the particular space where the wine and bread are being consecrated; an extra loaf of bread not intended to be consecrated will be set to the side and not on the corporal

    June 7, 2009