Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muh s] /ˌpyu səˈlæn ə məs/
lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.
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 forms
pusillanimously, adverb
1. timorous, fearful, frightened. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for pusillanimously
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • I say nothing about the political bear-garden—I fear I pusillanimously keep out of it.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pusillanimously



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for pusillanimously

Word Value for pusillanimously

Scrabble Words With Friends