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.


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]

3 thoughts on “Cache vs. cachet”

  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.


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