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[lil-ee-liv-erd] /ˈlɪl iˈlɪv ərd/
weak or lacking in courage; cowardly; pusillanimous.
Origin of lily-livered
First recorded in 1595-1605; lily + liver1 + -ed3 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lily-livered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was the tone best understood by hinds of their lily-livered quality.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • The lily-livered hero was hanging out his true colours at last.

    Roger Ingleton, Minor Talbot Baines Reed
  • We are not slaves of greed, money grubbers, soft and lily-livered.

  • He's one of your feather-brained, lily-livered fellows, is he?

    Madame Flirt Charles E. Pearce
  • Its well enough for lily-livered, goose-fleshed lawyers to hold their tongues when men and soldiers talk, I retorted.

    By order of the company Mary Johnston
  • He was carrying his lily-livered pacifism right to the White House, and I couldn't see it.

    Bear Trap Alan Edward Nourse
  • There is the type of the "love-lorn maiden," of "the lily-livered" hero, of the faithful friend, of the poltroon.

    The Critics Versus Shakspere Francis A. Smith
  • "It's well enough for lily-livered, goose-fleshed lawyers to hold their tongues when men and soldiers talk," I retorted.

    To Have and To Hold Mary Johnston
British Dictionary definitions for lily-livered


cowardly; timid
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 lily-livered

"cowardly," 1605, in "Macbeth;" from lily (in its color sense of "pale, bloodless") + liver (n.1), which was a supposed seat of love and passion. A healthy liver is typically dark reddish-brown.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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