- recreant (adj.)
- c.1300, "confessing oneself to be overcome or vanquished," from Old French recreant "yielding, giving," present participle of recroire "to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance," perhaps on notion of "take back one's pledge, yield one's cause," from re- "again, back" (see re-) + croire "entrust, believe," from Latin credere (see credo).
Non sufficit ... nisi dicat illud verbum odiosum, quod recreantus sit. [Bracton, c.1260]Meaning "unfaithful to duty" is from 1640s. Noun sense of "one who yields in combat, coward, faint-hearted person" is first recorded c.1400.