recreant

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See also: recréant and récréant

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Anglo-Norman recreant, Middle French recreant (defeated), from recroire (to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance). See recray; and compare miscreant.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

recreant (comparative more recreant, superlative most recreant)

  1. (now rare, poetic) Having admitted defeat and surrendered; defeated. [from 13th c.]
    • 1387, Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Part III: "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 III, Chapter XXII [concerning 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.
  2. (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: Printed by 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, []
    • 1793, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel:
      And let the recreant traitors seek / My tourney court […].
    • 1855, William Wells Brown, Sketches of Places and People Abroad, Chapter XXVII:
      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.

Derived terms[edit]

Noun[edit]

recreant (plural recreants)

  1. Somebody who is recreant, who yields in combat; a coward or traitor.
    • 1928, Montague Summers, The Vampire, His Kith and Kin, Chapter III:
      [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.

Synonyms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin recreans, present participle of recreō (I refresh; I invigorate). Equivalent to recreëren +‎ -ant.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˌreː.kreːˈɑnt/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: re‧cre‧ant
  • Rhymes: -ɑnt

Noun[edit]

recreant m (plural recreanten, diminutive recreantje n)

  1. someone who practices or enjoys recreation

References[edit]

  • H. H. Mallinckrodt, Latijn Nederlands woordenboek (Aula n° 24), Utrecht-Antwerpen, Spectrum, 1959 [Latin - Dutch dictionary in Dutch]

Anagrams[edit]


Latin[edit]

Verb[edit]

recreant

  1. third-person plural present active indicative of recreō

Old French[edit]

Adjective[edit]

recreant m (oblique and nominative feminine singular recreant or recreante)

  1. recreant; defeated

Descendants[edit]

  • English: recreant

References[edit]