Friday, June 12, 2009

Courage and bravery

Ok, so I feel like exploring bravery and courage a little further. First, let's look at what Dictionary.com has to say about them. Realize, the cool thing about this particular site is that it shows definitions from various dictionaries.

Courage

Random House Dictionary
1.the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

The American Heritage
n. The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.

Well, that's two definitions for courage. They're the only two that really made any sense for me to post here. Notice, they're different. Random House says that courage is to face danger fearlessly. But according to American Heritage, it means that you are confident and keep control of yourself in spite of the danger. It doesn't say anything about being fearless, though.

Both of them end with the word bravery. So that brings me to my next search.

Brave

Random House Dictionary
1.possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.

American Heritage Dictionary
  1. Possessing or displaying courage; valiant.

And here are the definitions for brave from those same dictionaries. Notice, Random House only uses the word courage, which will lead you back to the beginning. So basically, bravery equals courage, which means bravery equals fearlessness. American Heritage, on the other hand, adds the word valiant to the word courage. Hmm. Now I think I'll look that word up...

Valiant

Random House Dictionary
1.boldly courageous; brave; stout-hearted: a valiant soldier.
2.marked by or showing bravery or valor; heroic: to make a valiant effort.
3.worthy; excellent.

American Heritage Dictionary
  1. Possessing valor; brave.
  2. Marked by or done with valor. See Synonyms at brave.
n. A brave person.

Somehow for this one it just made sense to post more than one definition per dictionary. Anyways, these seem to be more of the same, with a few words added in. Dang. You know, I thought it would be simpler than this...lol So I'll look up one of those new words...

Valor

Random House Dictionary
boldness or determination in facing great danger, esp. in battle; heroic courage; bravery: a medal for valor.

American Heritage Dictionary
n. Courage and boldness, as in battle; bravery.

American Heritage is more of the same, while Random House is giving us new leads...but enough of this. I get the feeling I could chase words around like this all through the night, and still have more to chase around come dawn.

In Conclusion

I guess what bravery and courage are ultimatley comes down to who you ask. Personally, I don't think that you have to be fearless to be brave or courageous. And those who are fearless aren't necessarily brave or courageous -- sometimes they're just crazy. Then again, maybe those who are fearless are simply at peace with the fact that the outcome of their situation may not be so great for them. So, I would like to offer up my definition for the words "brave" and "courageous": Someone who faces their fears.

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