Definition of craven in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkreɪv(ə)n/


Contemptibly lacking in courage; cowardly: a craven abdication of his moral duty
More example sentences
  • It basically makes him look like a weak, indecisive, craven leader.
  • There is no reason for this other than craven cowardice in the face of power.
  • It would be better to say that the Boy Scouts prevailed with a good constitutional argument, supported by weak evidence, craven apprehensions and unthinking hostility.


A cowardly person.



Example sentences
  • We do not need to cravenly give up our own civil rights and our freedoms in order to achieve more security.
  • Well, at least they have a good excuse for a cravenly political move.
  • I wept, cravenly begged to serve, and vowed to do whatever they wanted me to do.


Pronunciation: /ˈkreɪv(ə)nnɪs/
Example sentences
  • Their cravenness on immigration is deeply disturbing.
  • It calls for ‘responsibility,’ then shirks it with surreal cravenness.
  • Characters thus afflicted may be realistic but they are also tiresomely predictable in their cravenness.


Middle English cravant 'defeated', perhaps via Anglo-Norman French from Old French cravante, past participle of cravanter 'crush, overwhelm', based on Latin crepare 'burst'. The change in the ending in the 17th century was due to association with past participles ending in -en (see -en3).

Words that rhyme with craven

graven, haven, maven, shaven, Stratford-upon-Avon

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cra¦ven

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words