Share this entry

pusillanimous Line breaks: pu¦sil|lan¦im|ous
Pronunciation: /ˌpjuːsɪˈlanɪməs/

Definition of pusillanimous in English:


Showing a lack of courage or determination; timid.
Example sentences
  • And yes, incidentally, I do know that it's ignoble and cowardly and pusillanimous, but I'll swap you for a decent night's sleep.
  • Forever is a pusillanimous way of saying ‘as long as I live.’
  • Once again, those pusillanimous, patronising, mealy-mouthed lectionary compilers have excelled themselves.


Late Middle English: from ecclesiastical Latin pusillanimis (translating Greek olugopsukhos), from pusillus 'very small' + animus 'mind', + -ous.



Pronunciation: /ˌpjuːsɪləˈnɪmɪti/
Example sentences
  • Of course, poor Neville does conjure nasty associations with cowardice and pusillanimity.
  • But at the moment, under Putin, Russia is launched on a different, worse trajectory, and western leaders have been united in their pusillanimity towards it.
  • His fault, if anything, is pusillanimity of a kind that is alarmingly becoming the hallmark of Congress chief ministers.


Pronunciation: /pjuːsɪˈlanɪməsli/
Example sentences
  • The comedy is, however, pusillanimously counterweighted with a solemn and Oprah-ish subtext that these are way important issues.
  • The Energy White Paper of 2003 should have given a clear green light to a new nuclear reactor: instead, it pusillanimously avoided debate.
  • And Washington is repeating the sins of the past while our pundits pusillanimously blank out.

Words that rhyme with pusillanimous

animus, equanimous, magnanimous, unanimous

Definition of pusillanimous in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...