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pusillanimous

[pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muh s] /ˌpyu səˈlæn ə məs/
adjective
1.
lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.
2.
proceeding from or indicating a cowardly spirit.
Origin of pusillanimous
1580-1590
1580-90; < Late Latin pusillanimis petty-spirited, equivalent to Latin pusill(us) very small, petty + -anim(is) -spirited, -minded (anim(us) spirit + -is adj. suffix); see -ous
Related forms
pusillanimously, adverb
Synonyms
1. timorous, fearful, frightened.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pusillanimously
Historical Examples
  • As I kept deafly and pusillanimously to my room, I am far from sure what happened during the remainder of the night.

    Sonia Married Stephen McKenna
  • Isabel has confessed nothing to you, and I know by your lies to me how pusillanimously you must have been lying to her.

    Bylow Hill George Washington Cable
  • However, in spite of their opinion, I pusillanimously decided to hold off for a fortnight, and then fire without notice.

    From Chart House to Bush Hut Charles W. L. Bryde
  • I say nothing about the political bear-garden—I fear I pusillanimously keep out of it.

  • They have pusillanimously abandoned the remnant of La Romana's army in order not to delay its retreat a single half day.

    Napoleon's Letters to Josephine Henry Foljambe Hall
  • Do you desire to act so pusillanimously that your children one day will have to blush for their fathers?

British Dictionary definitions for pusillanimously

pusillanimous

/ˌpjuːsɪˈlænɪməs/
adjective
1.
characterized by a lack of courage or determination
Derived Forms
pusillanimity (ˌpjuːsɪləˈnɪmɪtɪ) noun
pusillanimously, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin pusillanimis from Latin pusillus weak +animus courage
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 pusillanimously

pusillanimous

adj.

early 15c., from Late Latin pusillanimis "having little courage" (used in Church Latin to translate Greek oligopsychos "small-souled"), from Latin pusillis "very weak, little" (diminutive of pullus "young animal;" see foal (n.)) + animus "spirit, courage" (see animus). Related: Pusillanimously; pusillanimousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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