AskDefine | Define courage

Dictionary Definition

courage n : a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger of pain without showing fear [syn: courageousness, bravery] [ant: cowardice]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Courage



From corage (French: courage), from cor, “heart”.


  • IPA: /ˈkʌrɪdʒ/


  1. the quality of a confident character not to be afraid or intimidated easily but without being incautious or inconsiderate
  2. the ability to do things which one finds frightening


quality of a confident character
ability to do frightening things
  • Danish: mod
  • Kurdish:
    Sorani: پاڵه‌وانی




fr-noun m

Related terms

Extensive Definition

Courage, also known as bravery, will and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the courage to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

Discussion in religions

The Tao Te Ching states that courage is derived from love (" loving causes ability brave") and explains: "One of courage, with audacity, will kill. One of courage, but gentle,, spares life. From these two kinds of courage arise harm and benefit."
In Roman Catholicism, courage is one of the four cardinal virtues, along with prudence, justice, and temperance. ("Cardinal" in this sense means "pivotal"; it is one of the four cardinal virtues because to possess any virtue, a person must be able to sustain it in the face of difficulty.) In both Catholicism and Anglicanism, courage is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Discussion in philosophy

As a virtue, courage is discussed extensively in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, where its vice of deficiency is cowardice and its vice of excess is recklessness.
Søren Kierkegaard opposed courage to angst, while Paul Tillich opposed an existential courage to be to non-being, fundamentally equating it with religion:
"Courage is the self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being. It is the act of the individual self in taking the anxiety of non-being upon itself by affirm­ing itself ... in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation. ... every courage to be has openly or covertly a religious root. For religion is the state of being grasped by the power of being itself."

Discussion in literature

J.R.R. Tolkien identified in his 1936 lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" a "Northern 'theory of courage'"—the heroic or "virtuous pagan" insistence to do the right thing even in the face of certain defeat without promise of reward or salvation: Virtuous pagan heroism or courage in this sense is "trusting in your own strength," as observed by Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology,

Civil courage

Civil courage (sometimes also referred to as "Social courage") is defined by many different standards, but the term is usually referred to when civilians stand up against something that is deemed unjust and evil, knowing that the consequences of their action might lead to their death, injury, or any other negative effect.
In many countries, such as Brazil, France and Germany, civil courage is enforced by law; this means that if a crime is committed in public, the public is obliged to act, either by alerting the authorities, or by intervening in the conflict. If the crime is committed in a private environment, those who witness the crime are either to report it, or try to stop it.


Its accompanying animal is the lion. Often, Fortitude is depicted as having tamed the ferocious lion. Cf. e.g. the Tarot trump called Strength. It is sometimes seen as a depiction of the Catholic Church's triumph over sin. It also is a symbol in some cultures as a savior of the people who live in a community with sin and a corrupt church or religious body.



courage in German: Tapferkeit
courage in Spanish: Valor
courage in Esperanto: Kuraĝo
courage in French: Courage
courage in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Corage
courage in Italian: Coraggio
courage in Hebrew: אומץ
courage in Dutch: Moed
courage in Norwegian: Mot
courage in Japanese: 勇気
courage in Polish: Męstwo
courage in Portuguese: Coragem
courage in Russian: Доблесть
courage in Swedish: Mod
courage in Ukrainian: Хоробрість
courage in Vlaams: Kroaizje
courage in Chinese: 勇氣

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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