1. Unfaithful or disloyal to a belief, duty, or cause: "Consider the man who stands by his duty and goes to the stake rather than be recreant to it" (Mark Twain).
2. Archaic Craven or cowardly.
1. A faithless or disloyal person.
2. Archaic A coward.
[Middle English recreaunt, defeated, from Old French recreant, present participle of recroire, to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance, from Medieval Latin recrēdere, to yield, pledge : Latin re-, re- + Latin crēdere, to believe; see kerd- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
recre·ance, recre·an·cy n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.