cra·​ven | \ ˈkrā-vən How to pronounce craven (audio) \

Definition of craven

1 : lacking the least bit of courage : contemptibly fainthearted craven mercenaries who would not fight …— Thomas Fleming
2 archaic : defeated, vanquished

Other Words from craven

craven noun
cravenly adverb
cravenness \ ˈkrā-​vən-​nəs How to pronounce craven (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for craven

cowardly, pusillanimous, craven, dastardly mean having or showing a lack of courage. cowardly implies a weak or ignoble lack of courage. a cowardly failure to stand up for principle pusillanimous suggests a contemptible lack of courage. the pusillanimous fear of a future full of possibility craven suggests extreme defeatism and complete lack of resistance. secretly despised her own craven yes-men dastardly often implies behavior that is both cowardly and treacherous or skulking or outrageous. a dastardly attack on unarmed civilians

Did you know?

Craven and its synonyms "dastardly" and "pusillanimous" are all basically fancy words for "cowardly." Don't be afraid to use them - here's a little information to help you recognize the subtle distinctions in their connotations. "Craven" suggests extreme defeatism and complete lack of resistance. One might speak of "craven yes-men." "Dastardly" often implies behavior that is both cowardly and treacherous or skulking or outrageous, as in this example: "a dastardly attack on unarmed civilians." "Pusillanimous" suggests a contemptible lack of courage (e.g., "After the attack, one editorialist characterized the witnesses as 'the pusillanimous bystanders'").

Examples of craven in a Sentence

a craven refusal to deliver the unwelcome news personally
Recent Examples on the Web Under the circumstances, then, the Special Olympics organization’s craven response to the DeSantis threat is nothing less than a betrayal of its own community. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2022 The Republicans are hell-bent on the destruction of American democracy, or else too craven to stand in the way—the result is the same. George Packer, The Atlantic, 18 May 2022 His knack for skewering Broadway’s smash hits and for commenting on its craven tendencies to dumb down for and rip off its customers is unparalleled. David L. Coddon, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Apr. 2022 It’s the power to change some of the awful, craven aspects of our current culture. Cameron Smith |, al, 13 Apr. 2022 This mass radicalization is driven at various levels—through social media, divisive political messaging, a craven mainstream news media (at times compared with Radio Rwanda), and historical revisionism, increasingly through cinema. Debasish Roy Chowdhury, Time, 30 Mar. 2022 The choice was roundly lambasted at the time and generally attributed to a craven motive. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Mar. 2022 As a movie, The Batman shows Hollywood’s craven manipulation of its easily susceptible audience. Armond White, National Review, 4 Mar. 2022 Cheney and Kinzinger clearly find this craven, concluding that the problem, far from fading away, is getting worse and has to be taken head-on. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 14 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of craven

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for craven

Middle English cravant

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The first known use of craven was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

2 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Craven.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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cra·​ven | \ ˈkrā-vən How to pronounce craven (audio) \

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