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courage definition


This page has 6 definitions of courage in English and French. Courage is a noun, verb and interjection. Examples of how to use courage in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Courage

English courage definition


From Middle English corage, from Old French corage (French courage), from Vulgar Latin *corāticum, from Latin cor (heart). Distantly related to cardiac (of the heart), which is from Greek, but from the same Proto-Indo-European root. Displaced Middle English elne, ellen, from Old English ellen (courage, valor).



courage (usually uncountable, plural courages)

  1. The quality of being confident, not afraid or easily intimidated, but without being incautious or inconsiderate.
    It takes a lot of courage to be successful in business.
  2. The ability to overcome one's fear, do or live things which one finds frightening.
    He plucked up the courage to tell her how he felt.
  3. The ability to maintain one's will or intent despite either the experience of fear, frailty, or frustration; or the occurrence of adversity, difficulty, defeat or reversal. Moral fortitude.
    • 1942, C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters:
      Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.”
    • 1960 July 11, Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Philadelphia, Pa., New York, N.Y.: J[oshua] B[allinger] Lippincott Company, →OCLC:
      I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
    • 1993, Stanley P. Cornils, The Mourning After: How to Manage Grief Wisely:
      Courage isn't having the strength to go on - it is going on when you don't have strength.
    • 2008, Maya Angelou, address for the 2008 Cornell University commencement
      Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.
    • 2008, Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay:
      I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.


Derived terms

Related terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


courage (third-person singular simple present courages, present participle couraging, simple past and past participle couraged)

  1. (obsolete) To encourage. [15th–17th c.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter X, in Le Morte Darthur, book XIX:
      And wete yow wel sayd kynge Arthur vnto Vrres syster I shalle begynne to handle hym and serche vnto my power not presumyng vpon me that I am soo worthy to hele youre sone by my dedes / but I wille courage other men of worshyp to doo as I wylle doo
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)
    • 1530, William Tyndale, An Answer unto Sir Thomas More's Dialogue:
      Paul writeth unto Timothy, to instruct him, to teach him, to exhort, to courage him, to stir him up,

See also

French courage definition


Inherited from Middle French corage, from Old French corage, from Vulgar Latin *corāticum, from Latin cor.



courage m (plural courages)

  1. courage
    Synonym: bravoure

Derived terms



courage !

  1. chin up! keep going! take heart!

Usage notes

"bon courage !" has a slightly different meaning: "good luck!".

Further reading