cour·​age ˈkər-ij How to pronounce courage (audio)
: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
Choose the Right Synonym for courage

courage, mettle, spirit, resolution, tenacity mean mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship.

courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty.

the courage to support unpopular causes

mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience.

a challenge that will test your mettle

spirit also suggests a quality of temperament enabling one to hold one's own or keep up one's morale when opposed or threatened.

her spirit was unbroken by failure

resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one's ends.

the resolution of pioneer women

tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat.

held to their beliefs with great tenacity

Examples of courage in a Sentence

Eunice Kennedy Shriver … didn't buy into the propaganda of her day that women had to be soft and submissive. That took courage back then, because she grew up in a family that expected a lot from the boys and very little from the girls. Maria Shriver, Time, 26 Oct. 2009
Sometimes when I debate whether to risk my individuality or conform, the memory of my son's picture brings me courage. Sue Monk Kidd, Reader's Digest, August 1990
But as long as your courage holds out you may as well go right ahead making a fool of yourself. All brave men are fools. Robert Frost 17 Apr. 1915, in Selected Letters of Robert Frost1964
She has the courage to support unpopular causes. It takes courage to stand up for your rights.
Recent Examples on the Web But on the other hand, who’s showing human courage like this? Gia Kourlas, New York Times, 12 Feb. 2024 This vision demands courage to integrate AI into educational practices, recognizing its potential to democratize access and personalize education. Soulaima Gourani, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 His courage represented the defiant, resilient spirit of New Yorkers and Americans after 9/11. Jennifer McLogan, CBS News, 5 Feb. 2024 While some democrats like Senators Mark Warner and Michael Bennet have ignored election-turnout concerns to go after TikTok, such courage is rare. Jimmy Byrn, National Review, 2 Feb. 2024 Events such as bull riding, barrel racing, and bronc riding captivate audiences with heart-stopping action and displays of sheer courage. Shelby Stewart, Essence, 1 Feb. 2024 Thank you for being the best role model of love, strength, compassion, courage, and grace. Hedy Phillips, Peoplemag, 30 Jan. 2024 The memorial offers an enduring reminder of countless acts of courage. William J. Burns, Foreign Affairs, 30 Jan. 2024 As Elmo’s journey into our collective emotional wellbeing proves, a little bit of courage and a little bit of trust can lead to healing conversations. Aj Willingham, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'courage.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, from quer, coer heart, from Latin cor — more at heart

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of courage was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near courage

Cite this Entry

“Courage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


cour·​age ˈkər-ij How to pronounce courage (audio)
: strength of mind to carry on in spite of danger or difficulty

Middle English corage "the heart as a source of feelings, spirit, confidence," from early French curage (same meaning), from coer "heart," from Latin cor "heart" — related to cordial

More from Merriam-Webster on courage

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