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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for craven
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And with the detective went a man whose gait was slinking, craven.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Hobbs had seemed more of the craven type which Stryker graced so conspicuously.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • "craven Street, please," said the girl, and added a house number.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • In his heart he was ashamed of his fears; in his heart he knew himself for a craven.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • Swounds, but an empty stomach is a craven comrade in a desperate enterprise.

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for craven

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 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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