follow Dictionary.com

Why is the ninth month called September?

cowardly

[kou-erd-lee] /ˈkaʊ ərd li/
adjective
1.
lacking courage; contemptibly timid.
2.
characteristic of or befitting a coward; despicably mean, covert, or unprincipled:
a cowardly attack on a weak, defenseless man.
adverb
3.
like a coward.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English (adv.); see coward, -ly
Related forms
cowardliness, noun
Synonyms
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.
Antonyms
1. brave.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for cowardly
  • It had stopped, the cowardly shooters looking for their quarry in the bushes below.
  • 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.
  • Getting a doctorate was the easy, rather cowardly way out for me, and that's the truth.
  • Your cowardly anonymity blights your comment further.
  • In other words, anonymity is more calming and less risky-or even more cowardly-than named criticism.
  • Being immoral and cowardly does not mean one cannot be a great philosopher.
  • So it may certainly be rational, rather than cowardly to choose to not interview.
  • It is anonymous political aids and writers, who now cowardly refuse to own their words.
British Dictionary definitions for cowardly

cowardly

/ˈkaʊədlɪ/
adjective
1.
of or characteristic of a coward; lacking courage
Derived Forms
cowardliness, noun
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 cowardly
adj.

1550s, from coward + -ly (1). The adverb (late 14c.) is much older than the adjective:

Yit had I levir do what I may Than here to dye thus cowerdelye ["Le Morte d'Arthur," c.1450]
An Old English word for "cowardly" was earg, which also meant "slothful." Related: Cowardliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cowardly

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cowardly

17
18
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with cowardly

Nearby words for cowardly