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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Joe had taken an off-road trail where bikers tested their courage against a formidable hill, climbing until the heavy machines threatened to topple. Tribune News Service,, "The Man in the Window: Is this the childhood of a serial killer? (Part One)," 22 June 2019 There are people who regard Natan Sharansky — for his courage and eloquence in Soviet days; for his perpetual advocacy of freedom and democracy, for people everywhere — as one of the great figures of the age. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "A Chat with Sharansky," 17 June 2019 But Ivie has also received letters and emails from all over the state and the country lauding his courage. David Montero, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mormon, Republican and gay: Politician Nathan Ivie breaks new ground for Utah," 10 June 2019 After her five-year struggle with infertility, Harper, then 34, finally got the courage to see a fertility specialist., "Here’s why many black women are silent about their struggle with infertility," 28 June 2019 If not for the courage of one of Kramer’s employees to speak up, and this newspaper’s reporting on the case, the investigation findings about the assessor’s behavior would have never seen the light of day. Daniel Borenstein, The Mercury News, "Borenstein: Stop legal stalling on Contra Costa assessor’s trial," 21 June 2019 Auburn has been in our hearts ever since, and my goodness the courage. Joseph Goodman |,, "Courageous spirit defines Auburn in tough times," 21 June 2019 Paulsen described meeting Mel Blanc years ago, and trying to work up the courage to ask the voice of all those Looney Tunes characters to say something in Bugs Bunny's voice. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Rob Paulsen, the voice of Yakko from 'Animaniacs,' sang 'Nations of the World' to me. He'd do the same for fans at Wisconsin Comic Con.," 12 June 2019 Poise, skill and the courage to continue up the challenging Liberty Ridge route, despite illness and injury, likely saved their lives. Evan Bush, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s miserable, but we’re alive’: Portland climber recounts dramatic days stranded on Mount Rainier," 6 June 2019

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.

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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

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More Definitions for courage



English Language Learners Definition of courage

: the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous


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

Kids Definition of courage

: the ability to meet danger and difficulties with firmness

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More from Merriam-Webster on courage

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for courage

Spanish Central: Translation of courage

Nglish: Translation of courage for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of courage for Arabic Speakers

Comments on courage

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characterized by aphorism

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