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caitiff

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caitiff


  3  definitions  found 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Caitiff  \Cai"tiff\,  a.  [OE.  caitif,  cheitif  captive,  miserable, 
  OF  caitif,  chaitif  captive,  mean  wretched,  F.  ch['e]tif, 
  fr  L.  captivus  captive,  fr  capere  to  take  akin  to  E. 
  heave.  See  {Heave},  and  cf  {Captive}.] 
  1.  Captive;  wretched;  unfortunate.  [Obs.]  --Chaucer. 
 
  2.  Base;  wicked  and  mean  cowardly;  despicable. 
 
  Arnold  had  sped  his  caitiff  flight.  --W.  Irving. 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Caitiff  \Cai"tiff\,  n. 
  A  captive;  a  prisoner.  [Obs.] 
 
  Avarice  doth  tyrannize  over  her  caitiff  and  slave. 
  --Holland. 
 
  2.  A  wretched  or  unfortunate  man.  [Obs.]  --Chaucer. 
 
  3.  A  mean  despicable  person;  one  whose  character  meanness 
  and  wickedness  meet 
 
  Note:  The  deep-felt  conviction  of  men  that  slavery  breaks 
  down  the  moral  character  .  .  .  speaks  out  with  .  .  . 
  distinctness  in  the  change  of  meaning  which  caitiff  has 
  undergone  signifying  as  it  now  does  one  of  a  base, 
  abject  disposition,  while  there  was  a  time  when  it  had 
  nothing  of  this  in  it  --Trench. 
 
  From  WordNet  r  1.6  [wn]: 
 
  caitiff 
  adj  :  despicably  mean  and  cowardly 
  n  :  (archaic)  a  cowardly  and  despicable  person 




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