Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[rek-ree-uh nt] /ˈrɛk ri ənt/
cowardly or craven.
unfaithful, disloyal, or traitorous.
a coward.
an apostate, traitor, or renegade.
Origin of recreant
1300-50; Middle English < Old French, adj. and noun use of present participle of recreire to yield in a contest, equivalent to re- re- + creire < Latin crēdere to believe
Related forms
recreance, recreancy, noun
recreantly, adverb
unrecreant, adjective
1. dastardly, pusillanimous, base, faint-hearted, yellow. 2. faithless, untrue, apostate. 3. dastard.
1. brave. 2. loyal. 3. hero. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for recreant
Historical Examples
  • With Peter Pan for company, Sophie waited on the porch for the recreant pair.

    Glory of Youth Temple Bailey
  • "Why you should call him a recreant knight, I cannot for the life of me understand," she said.

    Kept in the Dark

    Anthony Trollope
  • Nor would he come forth, for all that Sir Bors called him coward and recreant.

    King Arthur's Knights

    Henry Gilbert
  • The groomsmen are denouncing him, as he deserves to be, as a slanderer and recreant.

    Marion's Faith. Charles King
  • Finding her so obstinate he had said to her in a loud voice, "Die, recreant!"

  • I have no recreant heart to turn aside from danger or from suffering.

    The Phantom Ship Frederick Marryat
  • Oh, Haco, that indeed were to be the traitor and the recreant!

    Harold, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Is his thunderbolt ever at his hand to reduce a recreant god to order?

    Framley Parsonage

    Anthony Trollope
  • We condemn the man who neglects to vote as recreant to his duty.

  • The recreant Jews rejected the Savior, because He came to them with a new revelation.

    The Articles of Faith James E. Talmage
British Dictionary definitions for recreant


cowardly; faint-hearted
a disloyal or cowardly person
Derived Forms
recreance, recreancy, noun
recreantly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Old French, from recroire to surrender, from re- + Latin crēdere to believe; compare miscreant
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for recreant

c.1300, "confessing oneself to be overcome or vanquished," from Old French recreant "defeated, vanquished, yielding, giving; weak, exhausted; cowardly," present participle adjective from recroire "to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance," literally "believe again;" perhaps on notion of "take back one's pledge, yield one's cause," from re- "again, back" (see re-) + croire "entrust, believe," from Latin credere (see credo).

Non sufficit ... nisi dicat illud verbum odiosum, quod recreantus sit. [Bracton, c.1260]
Meaning "cowardly" in English is from late 14c. Meaning "unfaithful to duty" is from 1640s.


"one who yields in combat, one who begs for mercy, one who admits defeat," early 15c., hence "coward, faint-hearted wretch;" from recreant (adj.) and from Old French recreant as a noun, "one who acknowledges defeat, a craven, coward, renegade, traitor, wretch." In English, sense of "apostate, deserter, villain" is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for recreant

Word Value for recreant

Scrabble Words With Friends