recreant

A recreant is a heavy-duty coward. If your friend shoves you in front of him when a growling dog approaches, you'd quickly recognize him for the recreant that he is. And in the future you’d choose your friends more carefully.

An extreme recreant would be the soldier who goes over to the enemy if it looks like they might win. Definitely not the kind of person you'd want in your platoon. Recreant (RE-cree-unt) comes from the Latin re-, meaning to "reverse" something, and credere, "entrust." The word miscreant is nearly synonymous, although a miscreant is not so much a coward, but just an all-around bad sort.

Definitions of recreant
1

adj having deserted a cause or principle

“some provinces had proved recreant
Synonyms:
renegade
disloyal
deserting your allegiance or duty to leader or cause or principle

adj lacking even the rudiments of courage; abjectly fearful

“"this recreant knight"- Spenser”
Synonyms:
craven
cowardly, fearful
lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted

n a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.

Synonyms:
apostate, deserter, ratter, renegade, turncoat
Type of:
quitter
a person who gives up too easily

n an abject coward

Synonyms:
craven, poltroon
Type of:
coward
a person who shows fear or timidity

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