- 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 cowardly
“It was cowardly, the way Chris and Guy went about this,” Ioffe said.Facebook Prince Purges The New Republic: Inside the Destruction of a 100-Year-Old Magazine
December 5, 2014
For them, the cowardly cynicism of the status quo will do just fine.How the Media Failed to Nail the NFL
October 19, 2014
According to the historian John Saunders, he was a “weak, vain, incompetent and cowardly” leader.In Threatening Baghdad, Militants Seek to Undo 800 Years of History
August 16, 2014
There, the beloved characters would emerge: the Cowardly Lion singing about courage and the Scarecrow dancing with the crows.Follow the Yellow Brick Road…to North Carolina
February 12, 2014
How cowardly could we be if, by overwhelming numbers, we had just elected a black man to lead the most powerful nation on Earth?Why Criticizing Obama Isn’t Racist
November 29, 2013
I think it cowardly of you to say that I am to be held responsible.In the Midst of Alarms
Its first war-cry was stifled back by the brutal and cowardly hand of Destiny.My Double Life
His cowardly rages made them dread a shot in the back or poison in their coffee.
Beauty Smith regained his feet and came toward him, sniffling and cowardly.
He was as cowardly and wicked as Richard was brave and generous.Introductory American History
Henry Eldridge Bourne
- 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 cowardly
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper