Simple Definition of pusillanimous
: weak and afraid of danger
Full Definition of pusillanimous
: lacking courage and resolution : marked by contemptible timidity
Examples of pusillanimous in a sentence
<pusillanimous politicians who vote according to whichever way the political wind is blowing>
Did You Know?
Do you know someone who has a small, weak spirit, someone whose reserve of inner strength is too small to draw from in times of danger and adversity? If so, you'll find pusillanimous to be the perfect descriptor for that person. The Latin roots of this derisive adjective are pusillus, meaning "very small" (and related to pusus, meaning "boy") and animus, which means "spirit" and is the ancestor to many words in our language, including "animal" and "animate." Pusillanimous first appeared in English in the 16th century, but it gained prominence in the 1970s when Vice President Spiro Agnew famously accused his ideological rivals of "pusillanimous pussyfooting."
Synonym Discussion of pusillanimous
Learn More about pusillanimous
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up pusillanimous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).