Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Characterized by abject fear; cowardly.
  • noun A coward.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Cowardly; fainthearted; spiritless.
  • noun A recreant; a coward; a weak-hearted, spiritless fellow. See recreant, n.
  • transitive verb obsolete To make recreant, weak, spiritless, or cowardly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Unwilling to fight; lacking even the rudiments of courage; extremely cowardly.
  • noun A confessed coward.
  • verb To make craven.

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

  • adjective lacking even the rudiments of courage; abjectly fearful
  • noun an abject coward

Etymologies

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

[Middle English cravant, perhaps from Old French crevant, present participle of crever, to burst, from Latin crepāre, to break.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English craven (adjective)

Examples

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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