Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Lack of courage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Want of courage to face danger; extreme timidity; pusillanimity; base fear of danger or hurt; lack of spirit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Want of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, etc.; dread of exposure to harm or pain of any kind; fear of consequences; pusillanimity; dishonorable fear.
  • n. Synonyms Poltroonery, dastardliness, cowardliness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the trait of lacking courage

Etymologies

Middle English cowardise, from Old French couardise, alteration of couardie, from couard, coward; see coward.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English cowardise, from Anglo-Norman cuardise (modern French: couardise). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Again, here at CENTCOM, for the past few days they have been criticizing Iraqi military for what they term cowardice on the battlefield.

    CNN Transcript Mar 29, 2003

  • Thou hast been spellbound by an evil eye, my darling, and the fainting which you call cowardice is the work of magic.

    The Fair Maid of Perth

  • It was then openly proposed to withdraw Sherman; and John Hickman, of Pennsylvania, who had been elected as an anti-Lecompton Democrat, but had gone over to the Republicans, took the floor to resist what he characterized as cowardice and treachery.

    Four years under Marse Robert,

  • Excuse me, Balsquith; but that consideration is what we call cowardice in the army.

    Press Cuttings

  • "I believe that what you term your cowardice is merely a physical weakness," declared the girl.

    Aunt Jane's Nieces in the Red Cross

  • 'Dear, do you wish me to help you against what you call your cowardice?

    Born in Exile

  • Schoolboys cannot understand that this shrinking from danger (I speak of palpable danger), which they call cowardice, nearly always emanates from a superior intellect.

    The Channings

  • I have seen him, in Paris, commit what I call the cowardice of thought.

    Beatrix

  • I can remember that I was both a coward and a boaster; but I have frequently remarked that the quality which we call cowardice in

    Frank Mildmay Or, The Naval Officer

  • I can remember that I was both a coward and a boaster; but I have frequently remarked that the quality which we call cowardice, in a child, implies no more than a greater sense of danger, and consequently

    Frank Mildmay The Naval Officer

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