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craven

[krey-vuh n] /ˈkreɪ vən/
adjective
1.
cowardly; contemptibly timid; pusillanimous.
noun
2.
a coward.
verb (used with object)
3.
to make cowardly.
Idioms
4.
cry craven, to yield; capitulate; give up.
Origin of craven
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English cravant, cravaunde defeated < Old French craventé, past participle of cravanter to crush, overwhelm (< Vulgar Latin *crepantāre), influenced by Middle English creaunt defeated (see recreant)
Related forms
cravenly, adverb
cravenness, noun
uncraven, adjective
Synonyms
1. dastardly, fearful, timorous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cravenness
Historical Examples
  • They stood ready to obey his slightest wish––not with cravenness, but with quick reversion to the faith of their ancestors.

    The Web of the Golden Spider Frederick Orin Bartlett
  • She had a fine spirit; it did not know defeat or cravenness.

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
  • The boy was the bear-hunter in miniature, strong and hearty, and a stranger to all cravenness.

    Boris the Bear-Hunter Fred Whishaw
  • It is very frequently set down as pusillanimity and cravenness of spirit.

British Dictionary definitions for cravenness

craven

/ˈkreɪvən/
adjective
1.
cowardly; mean-spirited
noun
2.
a coward
Derived Forms
cravenly, adverb
cravenness, noun
Word Origin
C13 cravant, probably from Old French crevant bursting, from crever to burst, die, from Latin crepāre to burst, crack
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 cravenness

craven

adj.

early 13c., cravant, perhaps from Old French crevante "defeated," past participle of cravanter "to strike down, to fall down," from Latin crepare "to crack, creak." Sense affected by crave and moved from "defeated" to "cowardly" (c.1400) perhaps via intermediary sense of "confess oneself defeated." Related: Cravenly; cravenness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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