Adjective and Noun [ Kay-rif ]
Caitiff is pretty rare in contemporary use, but it has functioned since the 14th century as an adjective and also as a noun (as in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure: "O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal!").
Both the adjective and the noun evolved from the Anglo-French adjective caitif, meaning wretched, despicable. The French word in turn derived from the Latin captivus, meaning captive - the shift from captive to wretched being perhaps prompted by the perception of captives as wretched and worthy of scorn.
Caitiff is worth 15 points in Scrabble
This Week's Book
My latest western romance CHASING THE DEAD is the perfect book for This Week's Word because of the CAPTIVE variation.
Read the blurb and you'll understand why:
The Apache kidnapped me to dispel an evil ghost from their village. If I tell them I don't possess the same skills as my madre, they'll cut my throat and feed me to the dogs. Celesta was the best spirit chaser in all of New Mexico before she died.
The most I can hope for is that Emmett, my fiancé, will rescue me. Is he capable of such a thing? Poppy must not have thought so because he sent Deacon Bannister to save me. Deacon…the man who walked away days before our wedding a year ago. The man who still melts my bones after one look.
We're running for our lives from Uday, the vaporous ghoul tracking us. He lusts after Sacheen, the beautiful maiden banished from the Apache village who travels with us. The warrior killed her father when Sacheen refused to marry him, and then Sacheen's brother killed Uday.
The ghost's powers grow stronger every minute on our journey back to El Vaquero...and so does my love for Deacon.
~ Madrid Arrende ~
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"This book has it all, romance, paranormal, and sexy cowboys." Book Heathens
"Thrilling! I found myself amazed at how addictive not only the story was but with the characters. They totally hooked me with their charisma and cultured way of life." Queen Tutt's Reviews
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CHASING THE DEAD