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[kou-er] /ˈkaʊ ər/
verb (used without object)
to crouch, as in fear or shame.
1250-1300; Middle English couren; cognate with Norwegian, Swedish kūra, Middle Low German kūren, German kauern
Related forms
coweringly, adverb
cringe, recoil, flinch, quail. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cowered
  • The white folks would have cowered and remained silent, however uncomfortable they were.
  • They became apathetic and in the subsequent experiment simply cowered on the electrified floor, unable to escape the shocks.
  • Beside him cowered another skeleton, probably that of a servant, who was carrying a considerable number of gold and silver coins.
  • As the explosions drew nearer, the patients moaned and cowered in the compound's corners.
  • As they cowered, they gulped down comet pills or sniffed on comet inhalers.
  • All four films cowered before the green, spindly legs of a familiar ogre.
  • She cowered in fear in her room until she heard him walk to the family room, then fled to a neighbor and called the police.
  • Price then repeatedly struck the dog with a belt in the face and stomach as the dog cowered in the corner.
  • We heard the roar of the storm and cowered under the table.
  • By your theory anyone who wears a seatbelt has cowered in fear.
British Dictionary definitions for cowered


(intransitive) to crouch or cringe, as in fear
Word Origin
C13: from Middle Low German kūren to lie in wait; related to Swedish kura to lie in wait, Danish kure to squat
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
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Word Origin and History for cowered



c.1300, probably from Middle Low German *kuren "lie in wait" (Modern German kauern), or similar Scandinavian words meaning "to squat" and "to doze" (e.g. Old Norse kura, Danish, Norwegian kure, Swedish kura). Thus unrelated to coward. Related: Cowered; cowering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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