AskDefine | Define cadre

Dictionary Definition



1 a small unit serving as part of or as the nucleus of a larger political movement [syn: cell]
2 a nucleus of military personnel capable of expansion

User Contributed Dictionary



cadre, quadro square, from quadrum, from quatuor four.




  1. frame or framework
  2. In the context of "military": The framework or skeleton upon which a regiment is to be formed; the officers of a regiment forming the staff.
  3. Core of a managing group
    • 2006 Financial Times
      Party cadres must guard against the temptations of power, money and sex.



  • lang=fr|/kɑdʀ/


fr-noun m
  1. the frame of a door, picture
  2. the backbone of an organization
  3. an imprinted box on a page
  4. executive
  5. scope or framework
  6. list of military officers

Extensive Definition

En cadre is a military expression for a group around whom a unit is formed, or a training staff. For other uses of the term, see Cadre (disambiguation).
Cadre (from the French; pronounced /ˈkɑːdreɪ/) are the backbone of an organization, usually a political organization. The assumption of the cadre model is that this small core of ultra-committed people are capable of providing leadership and of training newer members. Because cadre are well developed in terms of knowledge, experience, and agreement with the organization's goals, they should be able to adapt and rebuild the organization's structure and ideological direction even if the organization has been weakened, through, for example, other members being killed or imprisoned. For professional revolutionaries the cadre consider themselves subject to the discipline and self-discipline of a political vanguard party model.
Radical Left movements in particular have maintained their minimum program of survival and growth very effectively through the strength of a cadre system. Basic success within a movement in which cadre are the vanguard comes when one core of cadre has gradually recruited and trained another group of cadre to ensure the perpetuation of the movement. This, in theory, both strengthens the movement politically and promotes a culture of emulation over that of competition. The drawback of the cadre system is the inevitable ossification of the ideology as competition is eliminated, and the cadre becoming a separate caste, "a state within a state". In the Soviet Union, the cadre usage led into apparatschik system with the Party nomenklatura becoming a separate elite with little contact interface to general populace.
Cadres existed historically in Communist China as small factions of Mao Zedong's Communist Party who could maintain the party for as long as needed.
The term is also commonly used in other venues to indicate an "original" or "leadership" group, i.e. the "first set" of users of a system who then will act as the seed-group who gain initial experience with a system, in order to facilitate its later use by a more general population. An example would be the "Initial Cadre" of pilots trained in a new airplane by the manufacturer, in advance of the more formal training that later pilots of the type might undergo at the airline, i.e. "users", level. The term in this case assumes that the group is able to explore a system and determine by experimentation what later standards will be used to train the follow-on users, and further connotates that the original group will then train the instructors who will then interface with the final users group. The term has the additional connotation of "initial" or "original".


  • Essential Canadian English
cadre in German: Kader
cadre in Japanese: 干部
cadre in Chinese: 干部

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

KP, army, army group, battalion, battery, battle group, board, board of directors, board of regents, board of trustees, brigade, bunch, cabal, cabinet, camarilla, case, casement, casing, cell, charmed circle, chassis, circle, clan, clique, closed circle, cohort, column, combat command, combat team, company, corps, coterie, council, crew, crowd, detachment, detail, directorate, directory, division, doorframe, elite, elite group, executive arm, executive committee, executive hierarchy, fabric, field army, field train, file, flying column, frame, framework, framing, garrison, governing board, governing body, group, infrastructure, ingroup, inner circle, interlocking directorate, junta, junto, kitchen police, lattice, latticework, legion, management, maniple, mob, organization, outfit, phalanx, picture frame, platoon, posse, rank, regiment, ring, sash, section, set, shell, skeleton, squad, squadron, steering committee, tactical unit, task force, the administration, the brass, the executive, the people upstairs, top brass, train, troop, unit, we-group, window case, window frame, wing
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