From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Kadaver +‎ Gehorsam, lit. "cadaverous obedience",[1] "corpse-obedience" or "corpse-like obedience" (Porter 2013). Ultimately a rendition of an expression in the Constitutiones by Ingatius of Loyola (1558), qui sub Obedientia vivunt, se ferri ac regi a divina Providentia per Superiores suos sinere debent perinde, ac si cadaver essent . This expression was satirized by critics of the Jesuit order in Germany after 1814, in the German translation wie wenn sie ein Cadaver wären. The equivalent French expression as coined by Eugène Sue (1845) was obéissance de cadavre or obéissance cadavérique. The German compound appears in the 1870s, in the context of the 1872 prohibition of the Jesuit order in Germany. The German term also entered usage as a loanword in other European languages, and by the 20th century it was applied more typically to the blind loyalty in Prussian militarism rather than in the Jesuit order.


  • (file)


Kadavergehorsam m (strong, genitive Kadavergehorsams, no plural)

  1. blind obedience, fanatical or excessive loyalty
    • 1875 (indirect speech attributed to Burghard Freiherr von Schorlemer-Alst (1825-1895) in a summary of a parliamentary debate of 7-10 May 1875), Wilhelm Müller, Politische Geschichte der Gegenwart: IX Das Jahr 1875 (1876), p. 49.
      Wozu denn das ewige Gerede von dem Kadavergehorsam in einer Zeit, in welcher der Kadavergehorsam gegen den Fürsten Bismarck einen bisher ungeahnten Grad der Ausbildung erreicht habe.
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)



  1. ^ Walter Herbert Sokel, The Writer in Extremis: Expressionism in Twentieth-century German Literature, Stanford University Press, 1959, p. 176.
  • Kadavergehorsam” in Duden online
  • Carlos Whitlock Porter, "The myth of 'Kadavergehorsam'" in War Crimes Trials and other essays, 44-49