adjective pu·sil·lan·i·mous \-ˈla-nə-məs\

: weak and afraid of danger

Full Definition of PUSILLANIMOUS

:  lacking courage and resolution :  marked by contemptible timidity
pu·sil·lan·i·mous·ly adverb


  1. <pusillanimous politicians who vote according to whichever way the political wind is blowing>


Late Latin pusillanimis, from Latin pusillus very small (diminutive of pusus boy) + animus spirit; perhaps akin to Latin puer child — more at puerile, animate
First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of PUSILLANIMOUS

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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July 07, 2015
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