Definition of craven
- … craven mercenaries who would not fight …
- —Thomas Fleming
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
a craven refusal to deliver the unwelcome news personally
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.
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'").
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
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