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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for lily-livered

afraid, chicken, fainthearted, gutless, timid, yellow

Examples from the Web for lily-livered

Contemporary Examples of lily-livered

Historical Examples of lily-livered

  • 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.

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

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