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 ?
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 ''
Learn, caitiff, the expediency of uncalculating zeal.
I am Robin Hood, as thy caitiff carcase soon shall know.
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.