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Why are the words corps and corpse so similar?

  1. Feb 19, 2015 #1

    I was just wondering, is there a reason why the word corps (a branch of a military organization assigned to a particular kind of work) and corpse (a dead body, especially of a human being) are sounding so similar?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2015 #2


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    Or "beer" consumed in large quantities by one and "bier" the location of the other? Coincidence.

    Edit: Consider what can be said of the young wildebeest studying Greek; "The new gnu knew nu."
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  4. Feb 19, 2015 #3
    Its due to the origin of the word-

    From Etymonline.com
    corps (n.)
    late 13c., cors "body," from Old French cors "body, person, corpse, life" (9c.), from Latin corpus "body" (see corporeal). Sense in English evolved from "dead body" (13c.) to "live body" (14c.) to "body of citizens" (15c.) to "band of knights" (mid-15c.). The modern military sense (1704) is from French corps d'armée (16c.), picked up in English during Marlborough's campaigns.
  5. Feb 19, 2015 #4


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    Actually, in English, the word 'corps' is pronounced to sound like 'core' [silent s], while the word 'corpse' has the 's' sounded out.

    If you are calling for the aid of a 'corpsman' [a military person trained to render medical attention], you should say 'coreman' rather than 'corpseman', which would cause a lot of confusion. :wink:
  6. Feb 19, 2015 #5
    Yes, corps("core") and corpse don't sound similar enough to remark a similarity, I'd say. They just look similar in written form, for reasons explained by Enigman.
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