Word of The Day for Wednesday, March 30, 2011


re•cre•ant (REK-ree-uhnt)

1. cowardly or craven
2. unfaithful, disloyal, or traitorous
3. a coward
4. an apostate, traitor, or renegade

recreance, recreancy noun;  recreantly adverb

 c.1300 (adj.)  from O.Fr. recreant "yielding, giving," prp. of recroire "to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance," perhaps on notion of "take back one's pledge, yield one's cause," from re- "again, back"  + croire "entrust, believe," from L. credere "to believe," perhaps from PIE compound *kerd-dhe- "to believe," lit. "to put one's heart"   (Meaning "unfaithful to duty" is from 1640s. Noun sense of "one who yields in combat, coward, faint-hearted person" is first recorded c.1400.)

Synonyms: cowardly, afraid, apostate, cowering, craven, defecting, disloyal, faithless, fearful, frightened, gutless, perfidious, scared, timid, timorous, traitorous, unfaithful, unfaithful, pusillanimous
Related Words: credulous, credible, credence, miscreant, credo, credit

Sentence Examples:
• I took heart after having given some thought to my misfortunes and, artfully concealing the marks of the blows for fear that Eumolpus would make merry over my mishaps or, worse yet, that Giton might be saddened by my disgrace, I did the only thing I could do to save my self-respect, I pretended that I was sick and went to bed.  There, I turned the full fury of my resentment against that recreant which had been the sole cause of all the evil accidents which had befallen me. -The Satyricon, Petronius Arbiter

• "John of Hordle," he thundered, "you have shown yourself during the two months of your novitiate to be a recreant monk, and one who is unworthy to wear the white garb which is the outer symbol of the spotless spirit." -The White Company, Arthur Conan Doyle

• "Oh, my dear Maude," said Cecilia, "pray let him do what he pleases with himself in these the last days of his liberty. When he has got a wife he must attend to her,--more or less. Now he is as free as air. Pray let him do as he pleases, and for heaven's sake do not bother him!" Maude who had her own lover, and was perfectly satisfied with him though she had been engaged to him for nearly twelve months, knew that things were not going well, and was unhappy. But at the moment she said nothing further.
"Where is this recreant knight?" said Francesca.
-Kept in the Dark, by Anthony Trollope

Sources: Dictionary.com, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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