Definition of caitiff in English:

caitiff

noun

archaic
  • A contemptible or cowardly person.

    as modifier ‘a caitiff knight’
    • ‘According to the clear meaning of the word, the holy war for the religion against the infidels and caitiffs is somewhat like a struggle against one's own desires.’
    • ‘Your only comfort lay in the forced reflection, that, real as he looked, the poor caitiff was but imaginary, a bit of painted canvass, whom no delirium tremens, nor so much as a retributive headache, awaited, on the morrow.’
    • ‘At once I understood and was certain, that this was the sect of the caitiffs displeasing unto God, and unto his enemies.’
    • ‘Peter is a caitiff who has risen to great heights politically: however, he is still a caitiff.’
    • ‘He has for several years been playing snarling caitiffs in the wave of crime plays.’
    contemptible, loathsome, hateful, detestable, reprehensible, abhorrent, abominable, awful, heinous, beyond the pale
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (denoting a captive or prisoner): from Old French caitif ‘captive’, based on Latin captivus ‘(person) taken captive’ (see captive).

Pronunciation

caitiff

/ˈkeɪtɪf/