[ pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muhs ]
/ ˌpyu səˈlæn ə məs /


lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.
proceeding from or indicating a cowardly spirit.

Nearby words

  1. pushrod,
  2. pushto,
  3. pushtu,
  4. pushy,
  5. pusillanimity,
  6. puskas,
  7. puss,
  8. puss in the corner,
  9. puss moth,
  10. pussy

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

SYNONYMS FOR pusillanimous
Related formspu·sil·lan·i·mous·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pusillanimously

British Dictionary definitions for pusillanimously


/ (ˌpjuːsɪˈlænɪməs) /


characterized by a lack of courage or determination
Derived Formspusillanimity (ˌpjuːsɪləˈnɪmɪtɪ), nounpusillanimously, adverb

Word Origin for pusillanimous

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 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