Dictionary

1cowardly

adverb cow·ard·ly \-lē\

Definition of COWARDLY

:  in a cowardly manner

First Known Use of COWARDLY

14th century

2cowardly

adjective

: afraid in a way that makes you unable to do what is right or expected : lacking courage

Full Definition of COWARDLY

:  being, resembling, or befitting a coward <a cowardly retreat>
cow·ard·li·ness noun

Examples of COWARDLY

  1. He insisted on avoiding a cowardly retreat.
  2. She made a cowardly decision to go along with the group.
  3. a cowardly attack from behind

First Known Use of COWARDLY

1551

Synonym Discussion of COWARDLY

cowardly, pusillanimous, craven, dastardly mean having or showing a lack of courage. cowardly implies a weak or ignoble lack of courage <a cowardly failure to stand up for principle>. pusillanimous suggests a contemptible lack of courage <the pusillanimous fear of a future full of possibility>. craven suggests extreme defeatism and complete lack of resistance <secretly despised her own craven yes-men>. dastardly often implies behavior that is both cowardly and treacherous or skulking or outrageous <a dastardly attack on unarmed civilians>.

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