[ krey-vuhn ]
See synonyms for: cravencravenness on

  1. cowardly; contemptibly timid; pusillanimous.

  1. a coward.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make cowardly.

Idioms about craven

  1. cry craven, to yield; capitulate; give up.

Origin of craven

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)

Other words for craven

Other words from craven

  • cra·ven·ly, adverb
  • cra·ven·ness, noun
  • un·cra·ven, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use craven in a sentence

  • She had a fine spirit; it did not know defeat or cravenness.

    Double Harness | Anthony Hope
  • 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
  • It is very frequently set down as pusillanimity and cravenness of spirit.

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

    Boris the Bear-Hunter | Fred Whishaw

British Dictionary definitions for craven


/ (ˈkreɪvən) /

  1. cowardly; mean-spirited

  1. a coward

Origin of craven

C13 cravant, probably from Old French crevant bursting, from crever to burst, die, from Latin crepāre to burst, crack

Derived forms of craven

  • cravenly, adverb
  • cravenness, noun

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