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caitiff

[key-tif] /ˈkeɪ tɪf/
noun
1.
a base, despicable person.
adjective
2.
base; despicable.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English caitif < Anglo-French < Latin captīvus captive
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for caitiffs

caitiff

/ˈkeɪtɪf/
noun
1.
a cowardly or base person
adjective
2.
cowardly; base
Word Origin
C13: from Old French caitif prisoner, from Latin captīvuscaptive
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caitiffs

caitiff

adj.

c.1300, "wicked, base, cowardly," from Old North French caitive "captive, miserable" (Old French chaitif, 12c., Modern French chétif "puny, sickly, poor, weak"), from Latin captivum (see captive, which was a later, scholarly borrowing of the same word). In most Romance languages, it has acquired a pejorative sense.

n.

c.1300, "wicked man, scoundrel," from Anglo-French caitif, noun use from Old North French caitive "captive, miserable" (see caitiff (adj.)). From mid-14c as "prisoner."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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