lacking courage; contemptibly timid.
characteristic of or befitting a coward; despicably mean, covert, or unprincipled: a cowardly attack on a weak, defenseless man.
like a coward.

1275–1325; Middle English (adv.); see coward, -ly

cowardliness, noun

1. craven, poltroon, dastardly, pusillanimous, fainthearted, white-livered, lily-livered, chicken-hearted, fearful, afraid, scared. Cowardly, timid, timorous refer to a lack of courage or self-confidence. Cowardly means weakly or basely fearful in the presence of danger: The cowardly wretch deserted his comrades in battle. Timid means lacking in boldness or self-confidence even when there is no danger present: a timid person who stood in the way of his own advancement. Timorous suggests a timidity based on an exaggeration of dangers or on an imaginary creation of dangers: timorous as a mouse.

1. brave. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cowardly (ˈkaʊədlɪ)
of or characteristic of a coward; lacking courage

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 14c. (adv.); 1550s (adj.), from coward (q.v.). The adv. is much older than the adj.
"Yit had I levir do what I may Than here to dye thus cowerdelye" ["Le Morte d'Arthur," c.1450]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
It had stopped, the cowardly shooters looking for their quarry in the bushes
Too bad the government is too cowardly to prosecute the guilty millionaires,
  clerics and corporations.
Even now as it is coming out that he may have expired due to a seizure, they
  are too cowardly to connect the dots.
What a cowardly belief to wager gods existence and your own eternal salvation
  based upon mathematical reasoning.
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