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pusillanimous

[pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muh s]
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adjective
  1. lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.
  2. proceeding from or indicating a cowardly spirit.

Origin of pusillanimous

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 formspu·sil·lan·i·mous·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. timorous, fearful, frightened.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pusillanimous

pusillanimous

adjective
  1. characterized by a lack of courage or determination
Derived Formspusillanimity (ˌpjuːsɪləˈnɪmɪtɪ), nounpusillanimously, 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

Word Origin and History for 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