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From Middle French < Old French criembre, criendre (later creindre), from Classical Latin tremere, present active infinitive of tremō, altered into a Gallo-Romance Vulgar Latin form *cremere, with the initial c- under the influence of the Celtic root *krit- (Breton kridien, Scottish Gaelic crith)[1], ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *krey-. Compare Occitan crénher.




  1. (transitive) to fear
  2. (intransitive, slang) to suck (to be unwanted or bad)
    J'ai perdu mon portefeuille. — Merde, ça craint.
    • I've lost my wallet. — Shit, that sucks.

Usage notes[edit]

  • craindre que is followed by a subjunctive, and in addition takes a ne as a meaningless particle, e.g. in the following sentence:
  • Je crains que le lac ne soit froid.
    • I fear that the lake is cold.


This verb is conjugated like peindre. It uses the same endings as rendre or vendre, but its -nd- becomes -gn- before a vowel, and its past participle ends in ‘t’ instead of a vowel.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ craindre” in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).

Further reading[edit]