from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A despicable coward; a wretch.
- adj. Despicable and cowardly.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A base or despicable person; a wretch
- n. a captive or prisoner, particularly a galley slave
- n. a villain, a coward or wretch
- adj. Especially despicable; cowardly
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Captive; wretched; unfortunate.
- adj. Base; wicked and mean; cowardly; despicable.
- n. A captive; a prisoner.
- n. A wretched or unfortunate man.
- n. A mean, despicable person; one whose character meanness and wickedness meet.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Wretched; miserable.
- Servile; base; ignoble; cowardly.
- n. A captive; a prisoner; a slave.
- n. A mean villain; a despicable knave; one who is both wicked and mean.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. despicably mean and cowardly
- n. a cowardly and despicable person
Middle English caitif, from Norman French, from Latin captīvus, prisoner; see captive.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French caitif ("captive"), a variant of chaitif (French chétif), from a Proto-Romance alteration of Latin captivus ("captive"); compare Italian cattivo ("bad, wicked"). (Wiktionary)