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- (now rare, poetic) Having admitted defeat and surrendered; defeated. [from 13th c.]
- 1387, Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Part 3: "The Parson's Tale":
- Soothly, he that despeireth hym is lyk
The coward champious recreant, that seith,
Creant withoute nede, allas! akkas! bedekes us
He recreant and nedelees despeired.
[Translation by Larry D. Benson from Riverside Chaucer: Truly, he that despairs himself is like the cowardly defeated champion, who says "I surrender" without need. Alas, alas, needless is he defeated and needless in despair.]
- 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, V.11:
- For, from the day that he thus did it leave, / Amongst all Knights he blotted was with blame, / And counted but a recreant Knight with endles shame.
- 1759, William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 3, Chapter 22concerning trials by battle:
- [V]ictory is obtained if either champion proves recreant, that is, yields, and pronounces the horrible word of craven; a word of disgrace and obloquy rather than of any determinate meaning. But a horrible word it indeed is to the vanquished champion; since, as a punishment to him for forfeiting the land of his principal by pronouncing that shameful word, he is condemned as a recreant amittere liberam legem, that is, to become infamous, and not to be accounted liber et legalis homo; being supposed by the event to be proved forsworn, and therefore never to be put upon a jury or admitted as a witness in any cause.
- (now poetic, literary) Unfaithful to someone, or to one's duties or honour; disloyal, false. [from 17th c.]
- 1671, John Milton, “Book the Third”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: […] J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398, page 61:
- Who, for ſo many benefits receiv'd, / Turn'd recreant to God, ingrate and falſe, / And ſo of all true good himſelf deſpoil'd, […]
- 1855, William Wells Brown, chapter 27, in Sketches of Places and People Abroad:
- I charge it to the recreant sons of the men who carried on the American revolutionary war, and who come together every fourth of July to boast of what their fathers did, while they, their sons, have become associated with bloodhounds, to be put at any moment on the track of the fugitive slave.
- 1890, Henry James, The Tragic Muse:
- Gabriel did not attack him however. He brought in only blandness and benevolence and a great content at having obeyed the mystic voice—it was really a remarkable case of second sight—which had whispered to him that the recreant comrade of his prime was in town.
recreant (plural recreants)
- Somebody who is recreant, who yields in combat; a coward or traitor.
- 1928, Montague Summers, chapter 3, in The Vampire, His Kith and Kin:
- [I]n the Choephoroe of Aeschylus Orestes pursues the same idea saying that unless he avenges his father, a stern duty which has devolved upon him, he will be punished in turn by the avengers of his father's wrongs. It may be remarked that in Maina to-day no recourse must be had to law for such cases, nor must the injured person satisfy himself by calling upon the aid of the police. To do this were incredibly base, the subterfuge of a recreant and a craven.
- present participle of recrear
- someone who practices or enjoys recreation
- H. H. Mallinckrodt, Latijn Nederlands woordenboek (Aula n° 24), Utrecht-Antwerpen, Spectrum, 1959 [Latin - Dutch dictionary in Dutch]
recreant m (oblique and nominative feminine singular recreant or recreante)
- → English: recreant