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1. Unfaithful or disloyal to a belief, duty, or cause: "Consider the man who stands by his duty and goes to the stake rather than be recreant to it" (Mark Twain).
2. Archaic Craven or cowardly.
1. A faithless or disloyal person.
2. Archaic A coward.

[Middle English recreaunt, defeated, from Old French recreant, present participle of recroire, to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance, from Medieval Latin recrēdere, to yield, pledge : Latin re-, re- + Latin crēdere, to believe; see kerd- in Indo-European roots.]

rec′re·ance, rec′re·an·cy n.
rec′re·ant·ly adv.


1. cowardly; faint-hearted
2. disloyal
a disloyal or cowardly person
[C14: from Old French, from recroire to surrender, from re- + Latin crēdere to believe; compare miscreant]
ˈrecreance, ˈrecreancy n
ˈrecreantly adv


(ˈrɛk ri ənt)

1. cowardly.
2. unfaithful; disloyal.
3. coward.
[1300–50; < Old French, adj., n., present participle of recreire to yield in a contest =re- re- + creire < Latin crēdere to believe]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.recreant - an abject coward
coward - a person who shows fear or timidity
2.recreant - a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.recreant - a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.
quitter - a person who gives up too easily
Adj.1.recreant - having deserted a cause or principle; "some provinces had proved recreant"; "renegade supporters of the usurper"
disloyal - deserting your allegiance or duty to leader or cause or principle; "disloyal aides revealed his indiscretions to the papers"
2.recreant - lacking even the rudiments of courage; abjectly fearful; "the craven fellow turned and ran"; "a craven proposal to raise the white flag"; "this recreant knight"- Spenser
cowardly, fearful - lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted; "cowardly dogs, ye will not aid me then"- P.B.Shelley


A person who has defected:
Informal: rat.


(archaic) [ˈrekrɪənt]
A. Ncobarde mf
B. ADJcobarde


n (= coward)Memme f; (= traitor)Verräter(in) m(f)
adj (= cowardly)memmenhaft; (= traitorous)verräterisch
References in classic literature ?
When little Vladimir finally relinquished her, with assurances that he was `desolated to leave so early', she was ready to rest, and see how her recreant knight had borne his punishment.
Take it, or I pro- claim you recreant knights and vanquished, every one
all the curses due to traitors upon your recreant heads, do you abandon me to perish thus miserably
And yet the sick man was whole for the time being; the virile spirit was once more master of the recreant members; and it was with illogical relief that I found those I sought standing almost unconcernedly beside the binnacle.
Nay," said the man of law smoothly, "I dare swear this same knight will never come to settlement this day, but will prove recreant.
With the glow-worm lights of country places, how could men see which were their own thoughts in the confusion of a Tory Ministry passing Liberal measures, of Tory nobles and electors being anxious to return Liberals rather than friends of the recreant Ministers, and of outcries for remedies which seemed to have a mysteriously remote bearing on private interest, and were made suspicious by the advocacy of disagreeable neighbors?
Come with me, and don't sit starving here," said Tom, with a scornful look from her empty plate to that of her recreant escort, which was piled with good things.
Then I will," and, to the dismay of both recreant lads, Dr.
But why should man seek glory, who of his own Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs But condemnation, ignominy, and shame-- Who, for so many benefits received, Turned recreant to God, ingrate and false, And so of all true good himself despoiled; Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take That which to God alone of right belongs?
John of Hordle," he thundered, "you have shown yourself during the two months of your novitiate to be a recreant monk, and one who is unworthy to wear the white garb which is the outer symbol of the spotless spirit.
A recreant of James's time was momentarily perverted from his religion by the arguments of that great theologian, and the fortunes of the family somewhat restored by his timely weakness.
My nerves are not easily shaken by trifles, but on this occasion I started to my feet in a fright--called out--received no answer--summoned back my recreant courage, and looked under the seat.