Definition of coward in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkaʊəd/


A person who is contemptibly lacking in the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things: they had run away—the cowards!
More example sentences
  • ‘Our power is wielded by weaklings and cowards, and our honour is false in all its points’.
  • By demonstrating their courage, they have shown you for the cowards you are.
  • Due to my not being enraged or scared of these cowards, there was no fear, and I believe they sensed that.
weakling, milksop, namby-pamby, mouse
informal chicken, scaredy-cat, fraidy-cat, yellow-belly, sissy, big baby
British informal big girl's blouse
North American informal candy-ass, pussy
Australian/New Zealand informal dingo, sook
informal, dated funk
archaic poltroon, craven, recreant, caitiff


1 literary Excessively afraid of danger or pain.
Example sentences
  • Aidan had lost count how many times he'd cried himself to sleep in order to escape the pain that he was too coward to relieve himself of.
  • We were always discussing that he is a coward man, that he will not fight for his life, that he will not fight for what he believes in.
  • She squared her jaw and turned, feeling foolishly coward.
2 Heraldry (Of an animal) depicted with the tail between the hind legs.


Middle English: from Old French couard, based on Latin cauda 'tail', possibly with reference to a frightened animal with its tail between its legs, reflected in sense 2 of the adjective (early 16th century).

  • The Latin word cauda ‘tail’ is the source of coward. This may be from the idea of a frightened animal drawing its tail between its legs or ‘turning tail’ in flight. In heraldry lion coward is the term for a lion depicted with its tail drawn between its hind legs. Despite the similarity in spelling and meaning, the verb cower (Middle English) has a completely different origin, coming from German kūren ‘lie in wait’.

Words that rhyme with coward

Howard, underpowered, unpowered
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