cowardly

[kou-erd-lee]

adjective

lacking courage; contemptibly timid.
characteristic of or befitting a coward; despicably mean, covert, or unprincipled: a cowardly attack on a weak, defenseless man.

adverb

like a coward.

Nearby words

  1. cowage,
  2. cowal,
  3. cowansville,
  4. coward,
  5. cowardice,
  6. cowash,
  7. cowbane,
  8. cowbell,
  9. cowberry,
  10. cowbind

Origin of cowardly

1275–1325; Middle English (adv.); see coward, -ly

Related formscow·ard·li·ness, noun

Synonym study

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for cowardly


British Dictionary definitions for cowardly

cowardly

adjective

of or characteristic of a coward; lacking courage
Derived Formscowardliness, noun

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

cowardly

adj.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper