- noun a junior non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the army, marines or air force.
- noun a junior non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the army or marines
Origin & History of “corporal”
Corporal comes via Old French corporal from Latin corporālis ‘bodily’, an adjective derived from corpus ‘body’. The noun corporal ‘non-commissioned officer’ (16th c.) was probably originally a completely different word. It was borrowed from French corporal, which appears to have been an alteration of caporal; this in turn came from Italian caporale, a derivative of capo ‘head’ (the change to corporal seems to have been based on the notion of the corporal as being in charge of a ‘body’ of troops).