c. 1300, corage, "heart (as the seat of emotions)," hence "spirit, temperament, state or frame of mind,"from Old French corage "heart, innermost feelings; temper" (12c., Modern French courage), from Vulgar Latin *coraticum (source of Italian coraggio, Spanish coraje), from Latin cor "heart" (from PIE root *kerd- "heart").
Meaning "valor, quality of mind which enables one to meet danger and trouble without fear" is from late 14c. In this sense Old English had ellen, which also meant "zeal, strength." Words for "heart" also commonly are metaphors for inner strength.
In Middle English, the word was used broadly for "what is in one's mind or thoughts," hence "bravery," but also "wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness," or any sort of inclination, and it was used in various phrases, such as bold corage "brave heart," careful corage "sad heart," fre corage "free will," wikked corage "evil heart."
The saddest thing in life is that the best thing in it should be courage. [Robert Frost]
c. 1300, of persons, "valiant, brave, full of courage," also "desirous," from Anglo-French corageous, Old French corageus, corajos "eager, spirited, brave," also "capricious, inconstant" (12c., Modern French courageux), both on the notion of "following one's inner impulses," from corage "heart, innermost feelings; temper" (see courage). Of actions, speech, etc., "manifesting courage," by 1795. Related: Courageously; courageousness.
mid-15c., discoragen, "deprive of or cause to lose courage," from Old French descoragier "dishearten" (Modern French décourager), from des- "away" (see dis-) + coragier, from corage "spirit" (see courage). Meaning "express disapproval or opposition, dissuade or hinder from" is from 1640s. Related: Discouraged; discouragement; discouraging.
It forms all or part of: accord; cardiac; cardio-; concord; core; cordial; courage; credence; credible; credit; credo; credulous; creed; discord; grant; heart; incroyable; megalocardia; miscreant; myocardium; pericarditis; pericardium; quarry (n.1) "what is hunted;" record; recreant; tachycardia.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek kardia, Latin cor, Armenian sirt, Old Irish cride, Welsh craidd, Hittite kir, Lithuanian širdis, Russian serdce, Old English heorte, German Herz, Gothic hairto, "heart;" Breton kreiz "middle;" Old Church Slavonic sreda "middle."
late 14c., pusillanimite, "timidity, faint-heartedness, lack of the spirit of courage or fortitude," from Old French pusillanimité (14c.) and directly from Church Latin pusillanimitatem (nominative pusillanimitas) "faint-heartedness," from Latin pusillanimis "faint-hearted, having little courage" (see pusillanimous).