from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Unfaithful or disloyal to a belief, duty, or cause.
- adj. Craven or cowardly.
- n. A faithless or disloyal person.
- n. A coward.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- 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.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- 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.
from The 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.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- 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
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)
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)