American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Cowardly.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Having (ac cording to an old notion) a light-colored liver, supposed to be due to lack of bile or gall, and hence a pale look—an indication of cowardice; hence, cowardly.
- adj. Archaic form of lily-livered.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Having a pale look; feeble; hence, cowardly; pusillanimous; dastardly.
- adj. easily frightened
- From the notion that a deficiency of bile caused a pale liver and lack of vigor or courage. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The Meat boys are determined not to make any concessions to the white-livered weaker players among us: having run through its first world, I can assure you that there's essentially no such thing as a safe landing in any of Meat Boy's levels until you've reached the end.”
““A duel with a white-livered traitor like yerself?””
“The manner in which Judas grew more white-livered over his victuals, and languished, with his head on one side, as if he had no appetite, defies all description.”
“The exact particulars of the similarity never came to light, but apparently the lady had, in a fit of high-minded inadvertence, had gone through the ceremony of marriage with, one quotes the unpublished discourse of Mr. Butteridge — “a white-livered skunk,” and this zoological aberration did in some legal and vexatious manner mar her social happines.”
““Let the white-livered cowards have their way,” the old sailor said, contemptuously.”
““De Hamal is an unutterable puppy, besides being a very white-livered hero.””
“By this worthy frock of mine, quoth Friar John, thou hast a mind to slip thy neck out of the collar and absent thyself from the fight, thou white-livered son of a dunghill!”
“My son is a coward — a white-livered mongrel dog — but all of Rome shall know him a coward under our name.”
“Tve but come from the last wine-shop open - Ishtar's curse on these white-livered reformers who close the grog-houses!”
“` I've but come from the last wine-shop open Ishtar's curse on these white-livered reformers who close the grog-houses!”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘white-livered’.
how white is used
A roster of adjectives that infrequently surface in typical conversation and writing. Many are dredged from scientific or other technical jargon or sieved from examples of disused archaic forms.
From a list of insulting words that you might encounter in a Middle English shouting match.
The list was given to me by my English teacher.
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