follow Dictionary.com

11 Trending Words of 2014

coward

[kou-erd] /ˈkaʊ ərd/
noun
1.
a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.
adjective
2.
lacking courage; very fearful or timid.
3.
proceeding from or expressive of fear or timidity:
a coward cry.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English < Old French couard-, couart cowardly, equivalent to coue tail (< Latin cauda) + -art -ard
Synonyms
1. craven, poltroon, dastard, recreant, milksop.

Coward

[kou-erd] /ˈkaʊ ərd/
noun
1.
Noel, 1899–1973, English playwright, author, actor, and composer.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for coward

coward

/ˈkaʊəd/
noun
1.
a person who shrinks from or avoids danger, pain, or difficulty
Word Origin
C13: from Old French cuard, from coue tail, from Latin cauda; perhaps suggestive of a frightened animal with its tail between its legs

Coward

/ˈkaʊəd/
noun
1.
Sir Noël (Pierce). 1899–1973, English dramatist, actor, and composer, noted for his sophisticated comedies, which include Private Lives (1930) and Blithe Spirit (1941)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for coward
n.

mid-13c., from Old French coart "coward" (no longer the usual word in French, which has now in this sense poltron, from Italian, and lâche), from coe "tail," from Latin coda, popular dialect variant of cauda "tail," of uncertain origin + -ard, an agent noun suffix denoting one that carries on some action or possesses some quality, with derogatory connotation (see -ard).

The word probably reflects an animal metaphoric sense still found in expressions like turning tail and tail between legs. Coart was the name of the hare in Old French versions of "Reynard the Fox." Italian codardo, Spanish cobarde are from French.

The identification of coward & bully has gone so far in the popular consciousness that persons & acts in which no trace of fear is to be found are often called coward(ly) merely because advantage has been taken of superior strength or position .... [Fowler]
As a surname (attested from 1255) it represents Old English cuhyrde "cow-herd." Farmer has coward's castle "a pulpit," "Because a clergyman may deliver himself therefrom without fear of contradiction or argument."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for coward

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for coward

12
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with coward

Nearby words for coward