1175-1225;Middle Englishcravant,cravaunde defeated < Old Frenchcraventé, past participle of cravanter to crush, overwhelm (< Vulgar Latin*crepantāre), influenced by Middle Englishcreaunt defeated (see recreant)
early 13c., perhaps from O.Fr. cravante "defeated," pp. of cravanter, from L. crepare "to crack, creak." Sense affected by crave and moved from "defeated" to "cowardly" (1580s) perhaps via intermediary sense of "confess oneself defeated."