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

Essential Meaning of courage

: the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous The troops showed great courage [=bravery] in battle. She has the courage to support unpopular causes. See More ExamplesIt takes courage to stand up for your rights. I finally worked/got up the courage [=nerve] to tell him the bad news. They showed great courage [=fearlessness] and determination. Eventually she summoned (up) the courage to confront him. They showed courage under fire. [=they were brave while they were being shot at or while they were being strongly criticized] He has the courage of his convictions. [=he is not afraid to do what he believes is right]Hide

Full 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Please have courage to allow take four to be its own separate thing. Chris Kornelis, WSJ, 12 Jan. 2022 Dismayingly, Spielberg didn’t have the courage or the insight to imagine it. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 14 Dec. 2021 The Americans who have the courage to keep their small businesses open, who stare down floods and fires, weather our trends and whims, endure shoplifters, economic disasters and a global pandemic, are gutsy. Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2021 The young deputy was laid to rest in August in Cave Hill Cemetery, eulogized by family and colleagues as a model deputy who showed courage and compassion. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, 23 Nov. 2021 The jurors in the Rittenhouse case also showed real courage to overcome the intimidation of the mob outside the courthouse,the MSM lying about the case and Biden’s obstructive remarks. Arluther Lee, ajc, 19 Nov. 2021 What a surprise — Chris S. does not have the courage to bring Nayte's name up in front of the group. Kristen Baldwin,, 10 Nov. 2021 The simple fact that nobody has the courage to step forward and tell the truth? Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 5 Nov. 2021 Houdini had more respect for the highway robber, who at least had the courage to prey upon victims out in the open. Bryan Greene, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Oct. 2021

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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Time Traveler for courage

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Courage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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


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