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English Language
Literary Devices and Figures of Speech

Is craven coward a redundancy?


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February 21, 2008 9:39PM

No, 'craven coward' is not a redundant phrase. The word 'craven' has lost some of its older meanings, which was derived from a latin word for defeated. For example, a craven servant is a servant who completely submits himself to the will of his master, doing the master's bidding, regardless of right and wrong, etc. Craven also denotes one who lacks even the tiniest bit of courage. Many cowards may have courage in other areas, but one who is craven has no courage at all. Thus, 'craven' has several psychological aspects, and can be used as a deep insult. So, a craven coward is not just any coward, but a coward who acknowledges his cowardice or his complete submission to another, both major psychological defeats.