cour·​age | \ ˈkər-ij How to pronounce courage (audio) , ˈkə-rij \

Definition of courage

: 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 By that time, the problem has become grave, and the executive should be thanked for having the courage to confide in a peer. Lila Maclellan, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2022 Onstage now, the band is all love, all courage, so deep in their life-groove, so tightly tucked in the pocket. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2022 The courage to acknowledge the abyss is rare, necessary and potentially motivating. Samuel Johnston, Forbes, 12 Aug. 2022 Priam is an old man, and his courage in confronting the warrior who has been desecrating his son’s body in the Greek camp, and his plea to him, are a powerful and moving moment. New York Times, 19 July 2022 Buzbee began his lengthy statement by praising for Solis for having the courage to come forward. cleveland, 21 June 2022 White House chief of staff Mark Meadows ultimately called to fire Mr. Esper on Nov. 9, 2020, Mr. Trump not having the courage to do it man-to-man. John Bolton, WSJ, 10 May 2022 Few high-level Soviet officials had the courage to admit that things needed to change. ABC News, 30 Aug. 2022 Leaders also must have the courage to take calculated risks. Gina Mastantuono, Forbes, 12 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'courage.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of courage

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for courage

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

Learn More About courage

Time Traveler for courage

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near courage




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for courage

Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Courage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for courage


cour·​age | \ ˈkər-ij How to pronounce courage (audio) \

Kids Definition of courage

: the ability to meet danger and difficulties with firmness

More from Merriam-Webster on courage

Nglish: Translation of courage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of courage for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!