American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Unfaithful or disloyal to a belief, duty, or cause.
- adj. Craven or cowardly.
- n. A faithless or disloyal person.
- n. A coward.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Ready to yield in fight; acknowledging defeat; hence, craven; cowardly. Compare craven.
- Unfaithful to duty; betraying trust.
- n. One who yields in combat and cries craven; one who begs for mercy; hence, a meanspirited, cowardly, or unfaithful wretch.
- adj. disloyal, unfaithful, surrendering allegiance.
- adj. cowardly, craven
- n. Somebody who is recreant. A person who yields in combat, or is cowardly and faint-hearted.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Crying for mercy, as a combatant in the trial by battle; yielding; cowardly; mean-spirited; craven.
- adj. Apostate; false; unfaithful.
- n. One who yields in combat, and begs for mercy; a mean-spirited, cowardly wretch.
- n. an abject coward
- n. a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.
- adj. having deserted a cause or principle
- adj. lacking even the rudiments of courage; abjectly fearful
- From Old French recreant 'yielding, giving', from the verb recroire "to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance", itself from re- 'again, back' + croire 'to entrust, believe' (from Latin credere). In use in English as an adjective, meaning "confessing oneself to be overcome or vanquished," since the 14th century, the usage as a noun for a coward or faint-hearted was first recorded from the 15th century. The modern sense of "unfaithful to duty" is modern, first attested in 1643 (OED). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English recreaunt, defeated, from Old French recreant, present participle of recroire, to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance, from Medieval Latin recrēdere, to yield, pledge : Latin re-, re- + Latin crēdere, to believe; see kerd- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“He whom thou hast called recreant knight, has been Saxon host.”
“a 'recreant' -- just what needs the slight punishment of instant death to the remarker -- and ... where is the way?”
“A Spanish soldier is represented dragging a fugitive Indian from a lake by a lasso around his neck; while on the shore stands a monk ready to baptize the recreant on his arrival!” [”
“recreant," had he wavered when the descendant of Mary Stuart claimed his services.”
“A mosaic of images depicting your chronic laziness, unearned ego, and recreant cruelty.”
““The last innocent has suffered at your hands, recreant,” grimly intoned THE WRAITH.”
“If her conduct was forward, well, her connubial expectations had been dashed by the recreant Popplewell, and the arrival of Flashy with whiskers rampant must have seemed like the answer to a randy young matron's prayer.”
“Could he be blamed as recreant if he had helped his unexpected ally to break out and return to his prince?”
“For he was recreant, he had exiled himself, knowing well what he was doing.”
“I went striding back down the valley, then, singing "A-hunting we will go", if I remember rightly, and was just in time to see Yakub and Kutebar return from their meeting with Buzurg Khan in a fine rage: the overlord had refused to risk any of his people in what he, the shirking recreant, regarded as a lost hope.”
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