Meaning of recreant in English:


Pronunciation /ˈrɛkrɪənt/


  • 1Cowardly.

    ‘what a recreant figure must he make’
    • ‘For he did not dare give battle to our King of England; but, like a coward and a recreant knight, he made a lady, the Countess of Henaud, his messenger to come to our King and his Council, and pray that he would cease, and no more spill the blood of Christians or destroy their goods.’
    easily frightened, lacking courage, fearful, apprehensive, afraid, frightened, scared, faint-hearted
  • 2Unfaithful to a belief; apostate.

    ‘Had she gone abroad to seek him and win his recreant heart again?’
    • ‘Any whitewashing on the part of the committee, or any attempt to "let down easy" a man who has been so recreant to a great public trust, cannot fail to have a serious effect upon the fortunes of the men responsible for it, and upon any political party that may, through its control of legislative action, uphold them in such a course.’
    • ‘‘Where is this recreant knight?’ said Francesca.’
    • ‘The sultan gave him one of his female relatives in marriage, and the recreant knight appeared before Jerusalem at the head of an army of the infidels.’
    unfaithful, faithless, false, false-hearted, untrue, inconstant, untrustworthy


  • 1A coward.

    ‘the recreant acted with outward boldness’
    • ‘As a lover, his story stands out forever as a warning to the timid and the recreant.’
    • ‘They told me he was a recreant and a coward, but I knew it was false.’
    • ‘The chief fallacy appears to be this - ­that he insists that the race must always count for more than the individual, and that the individual must fall in line and step with the average conventions of the race at the expense of his own well-being, or be judged a deserter and a recreant.’
    weakling, namby-pamby, mouse
  • 2A person who is unfaithful to a belief; an apostate.

    • ‘Wordsworth compares himself to a truant, a false steward, a recreant, when he does not write poetry, when poetic numbers fail to come spontaneously, when his harp is defrauded and the singer ends in silence.’
    dissident, dissenter, nonconformist, unorthodox thinker, heterodox thinker, apostate, freethinker, iconoclast, schismatic, renegade, disruptor


Middle English from Old French, literally ‘surrendering’, present participle of recroire, from medieval Latin (se) recredere ‘surrender (oneself)’, from re- (expressing reversal) + credere ‘entrust’.