The shell of a house before the floors are laid and walls plastered; the skeleton of a ship, a wreck, etc. The body of a dead animal, so called from the Latin caro-cassa (lifeless flesh). (French, carcasse.)
“The Goodwins, I think they call the place; a very dangerous flat and fatal, where the carcases of many a tall ship lie buried.” —Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice, iii. 1.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894