motorcade etymology

Just got curious about the word motorcade, and was surprised by a couple of things in its etymology:

  • I was thinking it might be short for something like motorcar parade, to account for that c in the middle. Turns out motorcade is more or less from motor cavalcade.
  • It had never occurred to me that cavalcade is cognate with words like cavalry and cavalier—that is, cavalcade comes from cavalcare, to ride horseback. So a cavalcade was specifically a procession of people on horses.

And as etymonline puts it, “in 20c. -cade came to be regarded as a suffix and rode off on its own to form motorcade (1909), etc.”

(I’m not sure how much to trust etymonline; MW gives less firm/definite etymology for motorcade. But what etymonline says here seems plausible to me.)

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