- 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.
Origin of cowardly
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. craven, poltroon, dastardly, pusillanimous, fainthearted, white-livered, lily-livered, chicken-hearted, fearful, afraid, scared.
1. 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cowardliness
I tell you, this cowardliness enrages me; I cannot forgive it.Doctor Pascal
Should he shrink from the duties of life, into the cowardliness of death?Mary Barton
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
To my mind, these questions only bespeak our weakness and our cowardliness.A Guide to Health
The cowardliness of the Edinburgh is more than the abuse of the Quarterly.
It is not cowardliness and gluttony that have made me what I am.Les Misrables
- of or characteristic of a coward; lacking 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
Word Origin and History for cowardliness
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper