c. 1300, "non-Christian, misbelieving, pagan, infidel;" early 15c., "heretical, unbelieving," from Old French mescreant "disbelieving" (Modern French mécréant), from mes- "wrongly" (see mis- (2)) + creant, present participle of creire "believe," from Latin credere "to believe" (see credo). Meaning "villainous, vile, detestable" is from 1590s. Related: Miscreance; miscreancy.
late 14c., "a heathen, a Saracen, a pagan, an unbeliever, a non-Christian," from miscreant (adj.) or from Old French mescreant, which also had a noun sense of "infidel, pagan, heretic." Sense of "villain, vile wretch, scoundrel" is first recorded 1590 in Spenser.
word-forming element of Latin origin (in mischief, miscreant, misadventure, misnomer, etc.), from Old French mes- "bad, badly, wrong, wrongly," from Vulgar Latin *minus-, from Latin minus "less" (from suffixed form of PIE root *mei- (2) "small"), which was not used as a prefix in Latin but in the Romanic languages was affixed to words as a depreciative or negative element. The form in French perhaps was influenced in Old French by *miss-, the Frankish (Germanic) form of mis- (1).
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."