caitiff


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cai·tiff

 (kā′tĭf)
n.
A despicable coward; a wretch.
adj.
Despicable and cowardly.

[Middle English caitif, from Norman French, from Latin captīvus, prisoner; see captive.]

caitiff

(ˈkeɪtɪf)
n
a cowardly or base person
adj
cowardly; base
[C13: from Old French caitif prisoner, from Latin captīvus captive]

cai•tiff

(ˈkeɪ tɪf)
Archaic. n.
1. a base person; villain.
adj.
2. base; despicable.
[1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French < Latin captīvus captive]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.caitiff - a cowardly and despicable person
archaicism, archaism - the use of an archaic expression
cur - a cowardly and despicable person
Adj.1.caitiff - despicably mean and cowardly
cowardly, fearful - lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted; "cowardly dogs, ye will not aid me then"- P.B.Shelley
References in classic literature ?
"Learn, caitiff, the expediency of uncalculating zeal.
I am Robin Hood, as thy caitiff carcase soon shall know."
Failure was often the caitiff's portion, and disaster once; owing, ironically enough, to that very mist which should have served them.
By your dress you should be one of those cursed clerks who overrun the land like vile rats, poking and prying into other men's concerns, too caitiff to fight and too lazy to work.
What man would be so caitiff and thrall as to fail you at your need?
Caitiff! But if you bolt off on the head of it, I shall go back and sack him into the bargain!"
Of caitiff wretched thralls, that wailed night and day,
It is only when he descends from the clouds to pounce upon carrion that he betrays his low propensities, and reveals his caitiff character.
Down went Rocinante, and over went his master, rolling along the ground for some distance; and when he tried to rise he was unable, so encumbered was he with lance, buckler, spurs, helmet, and the weight of his old armour; and all the while he was struggling to get up he kept saying, "Fly not, cowards and caitiffs! stay, for not by my fault, but my horse's, am I stretched here."
But be it known to you, brave knights, that certain murderous caitiffs, casting behind them fear of God, and reverence of his church, and not regarding the bull of the holy see, Si quis, suadende Diabolo ''
The lady is frequently a "ladye" in 1838, the wretch that kills Earl Walter is a "caitiff," and so on.
He cared for his courtesy, lest a caitiff he proved, yet more for his sad case, if he should sin commit and to the owner of the house, to his host, be a traitor.