[kur-ij, kuhr-]
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  1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
  2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.
  1. have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.

Origin of courage

1250–1300; Middle English corage < Old French, equivalent to cuer heart (< Latin cor; see heart) + -age -age

Synonyms for courage

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Synonym study

1. Courage, bravery, valor, bravado refer to qualities of spirit and conduct. Courage permits one to face extreme dangers and difficulties without fear: to take (or lose) courage. Bravery implies true courage with daring and an intrepid boldness: bravery in a battle. Valor implies heroic courage: valor in fighting for the right. Bravado is now usually a boastful and ostentatious pretense of courage or bravery: empty bravado.

Antonyms for courage Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for courage

Contemporary Examples of courage

Historical Examples of courage

  • "I marvelled at your courage in talking to her as you did," said Eudora.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • A courage, moreover —the gambler's courage—that is typically American.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • There are not many boys, or men, I think, that would have had the courage to act as you did.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Then you will understand, and understanding, you will admire his courage.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • A pioneer is a brave fellow, with the courage of his own curiosity.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

British Dictionary definitions for courage


  1. the power or quality of dealing with or facing danger, fear, pain, etc
  2. the courage of one's convictions the confidence to act in accordance with one's beliefs
  3. take one's courage in both hands to nerve oneself to perform an action
  4. obsolete mind; disposition; spirit

Word Origin for courage

C13: from Old French corage, from cuer heart, from Latin cor
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

Word Origin and History for courage

c.1300, from Old French corage (12c., Modern French courage) "heart, innermost feelings; temper," from Vulgar Latin *coraticum (source of Italian coraggio, Spanish coraje), from Latin cor "heart" (see heart) which remains a common metaphor for inner strength.

In Middle English, used broadly for "what is in one's mind or thoughts," hence "bravery," but also "wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness," or any sort of inclination. Replaced Old English ellen, which also meant "zeal, strength."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with courage


In addition to the idiom beginning with courage

  • courage of one's convictions, have the

also see:

  • Dutch courage
  • pluck up (one's courage)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.