[tim-er-uh s]


full of fear; fearful: The noise made them timorous.
subject to fear; timid.
characterized by or indicating fear: a timorous whisper.

Origin of timorous

1400–50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin timōrōsus (Latin timōr- (stem of timor) fear + -ōsus -ous)
Related formstim·or·ous·ly, adverbtim·or·ous·ness, nouno·ver·tim·or·ous, adjectiveo·ver·tim·or·ous·ly, adverbo·ver·tim·or·ous·ness, nounun·tim·or·ous, adjectiveun·tim·or·ous·ly, adverbun·tim·or·ous·ness, noun

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for timorous

Contemporary Examples of timorous

  • Forget about the Second Amendment—the gun lobby, abetted by timorous Republicans, is trying to privatize law and order.

  • Alas, the sad truth is that the CIA, despite its Bourne Identity reputation, has become a timorous, risk-averse bureaucracy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Spy Agency Fiasco

    Joseph Finder

    August 18, 2009

  • The CIA, despite its cowboy image, is in fact in many ways a timorous, risk-averse bureaucracy.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hands Off the CIA

    Joseph Finder

    April 22, 2009

Historical Examples of timorous

British Dictionary definitions for timorous



fearful or timid
indicating fear or timidity
Derived Formstimorously, adverbtimorousness, noun

Word Origin for timorous

C15: from Old French temoros, from Medieval Latin timōrōsus, from Latin timor fear, from timēre to be afraid
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 timorous

mid-15c., from Old French temeros (14c.), from Medieval Latin timorosus "fearful," from Latin timor "fear," from timere "to fear." Some early sense confused by mistaken identification with Middle English temerous "rash" (see temerity). Related: Timorously; timorousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper