Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Characterized by abject fear; cowardly.
  • n. A coward.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Unwilling to fight; lacking even the rudiments of courage; extremely cowardly.
  • n. A confessed coward.
  • v. To make craven.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Cowardly; fainthearted; spiritless.
  • n. A recreant; a coward; a weak-hearted, spiritless fellow. See recreant, n.
  • transitive v. To make recreant, weak, spiritless, or cowardly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Overcome; conquered; defeated. See to cry craven, below.
  • Cowardly; pusillanimous; mean-spirited.
  • to yield in submission; be defeated; fail.
  • n. A mean or base coward; a pusillanimous fellow; a dastard.
  • n. Synonyms Poltroon, Dastard, etc. See coward.
  • To make craven, recreant, weak, or cowardly.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. lacking even the rudiments of courage; abjectly fearful
  • n. an abject coward

Etymologies

Middle English cravant, perhaps from Old French crevant, present participle of crever, to burst, from Latin crepāre, to break.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English craven (adjective) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • So if you had any doubt about who owns the Republicans and their nether regions, this latest exercise in craven sycophancy should pretty much put that to rest.

    Steele's Re-education

  • Charles Lane, who recently praised Evan Bayh for having the courage to be base, selfish, and craven, is on the rise.

    Matthew Yglesias » Lane on Bayh

  • The more these changes take place in public opinion, the more reckless, really, the Israeli government has become, and it's all the more surprising, therefore, that Canada should have a government so absolutely ... well, I don't want to use the word craven because that would suggest submissiveness.

    rabble.ca - News for the rest of us

  • Hal is a fascist as statements like "defend our way of life in craven terror, bigotry and paranoia," "order him to read from Homer," and "dearly like to bash your fucking head in" clearly demonstrate ....

    Wisdom, Justice And Mercy

  • Then maybe we would have a chance at eradicating poverty, universal health care, protection of women’s and minority rights … as it is, the Dem “leadership” is a close second in craven corporate selfishness to the Republicans.

    Think Progress » You Go Into A Disaster With The FEMA You Have

  • It was the speech of a politician par excellence - that is, a craven, bootlicking ode to Unoffensiveness.

    UVa Apologizes to WVU for Pep Band at cvillenews.com

  • Swiftly, conscious of only one motive -- refusal to see this man called craven by his enemies -- she rose, and with blundering fingers buckled the belt round his waist where it belonged.

    Riders of the Purple Sage

  • The Guardian presented these disclosures in grand tabloid style, claiming in an editorial that they show the Palestinian Authority to be "craven" and "weak" for its willingness to compromise with Israel.

    The Real 'Palestine Papers' Scandal

  • • Jonathan Freedland objects to the word "craven" to describe Palestinian concessions.

    Letters: Palestine leak and the peace process

  • This kind of craven "strategy" is a lot of the reason the Dems can't make any headway against Bush's Regime of Lies even when they control Congress and have all the polls completely on their side.

    Elizabeth Edwards Confronts Ann Coulter On Hardball

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.