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Cache vs. cachet

A cache is (1) a hiding place used for storing provisions or valuables, or (2) a concealed collection of valuable things. The word also functions as a verb meaning to hide or store in a cache. Cachet refers to (1) a mark or indication of superior status, or (2) prestige. The word is is usually a mass noun (meaning it is treated as a quantity and can’t be pluralized), but it’s a count noun in some rarer senses.

Examples


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It was the single largest cache of prehistoric watercraft ever discovered. [Wall Street Journal]

It might not have the cachet of Tuscany, but that may be why this region along the Adriatic is still able to offer wines at bargain deals. [Edmonton Journal]

After the bomber detonated his cache of explosives, two other militants stormed inside the hotel. [Scotsman]

Nordic crime fiction carries a more respectable cachet – justifiably or otherwise – than similar genre fiction produced in Britain or the US. [Independent]

The explosive detection dogs are the best way of detecting improvised explosive devices and Taliban weapons caches. [Canberra Times]

Beijing would love to wield the cachet that American culture commands, but experts say it can’t as long as its authoritarian leaders call the shots. [Los Angeles Times]

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Comments

  1. I would guess that the word “cache” these days is most often used in computing. I don’t think that the meaning there is covered by either of your definitions, as the computing use has no implication of secrecy or preciousness; the point is pure speed.

    In computing, information which is already stored in one place, but in a form that takes a significant time to retrieve, can also be copied into a second place from which it can be retrieved much more quickly. This is called caching that information, and the place it is copied into is a cache.

    Caches in the old sense tended to be places for long-term storage, rarely visited. Computer caches are just the opposite; things will be put in and taken out all the time as the computer changes its mind about what it is most valuable to store in the limited super-fast memory. And it will be being accessed all the time, because if the information is not being used, it is not earning its keep and will be replaced.

    • “The word also functions as a verb meaning to hide or *store* in a cache.”
      Cache can be stockpile or storage but gives off the implication that it’s hidden.

      Cache in computing is stored data for future usage that nearly gives it entirely new context.

  2. LOL. Got the lecture on this one yesterday from a retired colonel.

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