1630s, "a cadet, student soldier," Scottish form of French cadet (see cadet). From 1730 as "person who runs errands;" meaning "golfer's assistant" is from 1851. A letter from Edinburgh c. 1730 describes the city's extensive and semi-organized "Cawdys, a very useful Black-Guard, who attend ... publick Places to go at Errands; and though they are Wretches, that in Rags lye upon the Stairs and in the Streets at Night, yet are they often considerably trusted .... This Corps has a kind of Captain ... presiding over them, whom they call the Constable of the Cawdys."
updated on September 19, 2017