Body Parts: Corpus

Know your body through this list.

For more dissections of words with Latin and Greek anatomy, check out these lists: corpus, caput, ora, os, dens, gaster, neuron, manus, ped, podos, derma, carnem, os, cor, kardia, psyche
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definitions & notes only words
  1. corpus
    a collection of writings
    As a result, over time, the chats build up into a corpus of deep historical knowledge.New York Times (Mar 11, 2015)
    corpus (body)
    This is the Latin singular (the plural is "corpora"). In medical or legal phrases, "corpus" usually refers to an actual body, but here, the word is used figuratively to refer to a body of knowledge.
  2. corps
    a body of people associated together
    Started in 1964 as a federal initiative, Job Corps was designed to help disadvantaged youth.The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
    corpus (body)
    Unlike the Marine Corps, Job Corps is not "an army unit usually consisting of two or more divisions." But the name of the federal initiative was intended to give the literal and figurative collections of youthful bodies and jobs a sense of discipline and duty that is often associated with the military.
  3. corpse
    the dead body of a human being
    The corpse was encased in a transparent coffin, giving the crowds and television cameras a chance to view it.Washington Post (Apr 20, 2015)
    corpus (body)
    The "p" in "corpse" was originally silent and the "e" was rarely added before the 19th century, so earlier references to a dead body were often spelled "corse" or "corps."
  4. corporal
    affecting the body as opposed to the mind or spirit
    Though 31 states have outlawed corporal punishment in schools, all 50 states allow parents to hit their children as a reasonable means of discipline.Washington Times (Oct 7, 2014)
    corpus (body) + al (suffix forming adjectives)
    The word is used as an adjective in the example sentence, but it can also be a noun that refers to "a noncommissioned officer in the armed forces." This meaning could be traced to the Latin root "caput" which means "head." The head of a body of troops, a corporal might use corporal punishment to train soldiers whose bodies, minds, and spirits need to be disciplined enough to withstand punishing environments.
  5. corporeal
    characteristic of the body as opposed to the mind or spirit
    They mean not just that physical reality helps us think, but that mental functioning depends on corporeal experience.Slate (Nov 24, 2014)
    corpus (body) + al (suffix forming adjectives)
    As the roots and definitions show, "corporal" and "corporeal" are nearly identical. But as the example sentences suggest, "corporal" is often used to differentiate from another type of physical punishment ("capital punishment" is a death sentence). "Corporeal" is often used to describe physical experiences that differ from those disconnected from the body ("incorporeal").
  6. corpulent
    excessively fat
    I had expected that Mr. Gatsby would be a florid and corpulent person in his middle years. The Great Gatsby
    corpus (body) + ulentus (suffix meaning "full of")
    Although the tone of the adjective is not positive, the example sentence pairs it with "florid" which can mean "inclined to a healthy reddish color." This makes it less negative than the synonymous "obese" (from "obedere" which means "to eat oneself fat").
  7. corpuscle
    (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
    Each of us is but a tiny corpuscle in the vast, throbbing corpus.Washington Post
    corpus (body) + cule (suffix forming diminutives)
    The technical usage of "corpuscle" refers to "either of two types of cells (erythrocytes and leukocytes)." But the example sentence is developing a metaphor in which the modern city is a human body and the pedestrians are the tiny cells inside it. If corpuscles become cancerous, or pedestrians behave rudely, the health of the whole body or city is affected.
  8. corporate
    possessing or existing in bodily form
    As the tortoise proved, corporate evolution is a marathon, not a sprint.Forbes (Jun 4, 2015)
    corpus (body) + ate (suffix forming adjectives)
    The adjective is more often used to mean "of or belonging to a business firm." This meaning is also intended by the example sentence, which compares the evolution of a tortoise to that of a business (clue: the source is the business magazine Forbes).
  9. corporation
    a business firm recognized by law as a single body
    These companies, such as State Farm Mutual and Health Care Service Corporation are among the largest insurance companies in the nation.Time (Jun 3, 2015)
    corpus (body) + ation (suffix forming nouns)
    Closer to its literal root, "corporation" could be slang for "paunch" (big belly). Thus, a large health insurance corporation could be accused of having a corporation.
  10. corporatism
    control of a state or organization by large interest groups
    Once corporatism takes hold in a society, he says, people don’t adequately appreciate the contributions and the travails of individuals who create and innovate.New York Times (Aug 17, 2013)
    corpus (body) + ate (suffix forming adjectives) + ism (suffix forming nouns)
    "Corporate" can also mean "done by or characteristic of individuals acting together." This could describe a positive work environment, but once "ism" is added to the adjective, the word takes on a negative tone that, as the example sentence suggests, ignores the individuals.
  11. incorporate
    make into a whole or make part of a whole
    When we acquire new information, the brain automatically tries to incorporate it within existing information by forming associations.Scientific American (Jun 2, 2015)
    in (prefix meaning "into") + corpus (body) + ate (suffix forming verbs)
    The example sentence is from a science magazine, so both the literal and figurative connections to body are intended here. New information is incorporated into a person's body of knowledge when the brain physically creates new synaptic connections between cells.
  12. habeas corpus
    a writ ordering a prisoner to be brought before a judge
    They are preparing to file suit to get a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of captive elephants, such as those used in circus performances.Nature (Apr 21, 2015)
    habere (to have, to hold); corpus (body)
    The reason for this right is to prevent prisoners from being illegally detained in some unknown location. This does not usually apply to animals, especially those whose bodily appearance would turn a courtroom into a circus.
  13. corset
    a woman's close-fitting foundation garment
    She said her costume's corset and voluminous skirt created an illusion, and she does not feel she is promoting an unhealthy body image.Los Angeles Times (Mar 2, 2015)
    corpus (body) + ette (suffix forming diminutives)
    The slight change in spelling is due to the word passing through Old French. As both the French and Latin roots suggest, the purpose of a corset is to create the image of a small body (in particular, a female's waist). The example sentence defends the corset, but for many who are not actresses playing Disney princesses, the corset symbolizes a painfully unrealistic standard of female perfection that is focused on the body.

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