cow·​ard | \ ˈkau̇(-ə)rd How to pronounce coward (audio) \

Definition of coward

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity a coward who deserted his troops


biographical name
Cow·​ard | \ ˈkau̇(-ə)rd How to pronounce Coward (audio) \

Definition of Coward (Entry 2 of 2)

Sir Noël Peirce 1899–1973 English actor and dramatist

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Other Words from coward


coward adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for coward

Synonyms: Noun

chicken, craven, cur, dastard, funk, poltroon, recreant, sissy

Antonyms: Noun

hero, stalwart, valiant

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Examples of coward in a Sentence


a proven coward who had deserted his troops the soldiers who ran as soon as the first shots were fired were branded as cowards

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But here's the thing: Most of you mayonnaise haters out there are hypocrites and cowards. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "In Defense of Mayonnaise," 4 July 2019 After the game, Hope Solo labelled the Swedes a 'bunch of cowards' over their defensive tactics, directly contributing to the end of her career after she was fired by U.S. Soccer., "United States vs Sweden: A Storied Rivalry Revisited Ahead of 2019 Women's World Cup Clash," 20 June 2019 Then-goalkeeper Hope Solo controversially called the Swedish players cowards after the match. Alicia Delgallo, Pro Soccer USA, "USWNT, Sweden showdown closes World Cup group stage," 20 June 2019 When the big showdown did finally arrive, Cersei then tried to sneak away from the action like a coward, only to be crushed by her castle’s falling rubble. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Why the Women of Game of Thrones Deserved Better," 20 May 2019 Cast Laverne Cox in the next Marvel movie, you cowards. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "The Met Gala 2019 Memes That Had Us Cackling Over Camp," 7 May 2019 The same goes for every coward masquerading as a political leader in this country who takes money and marching orders from the NRA. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "What's the Right Way to Respond to a School Shooting?," 15 Feb. 2018 Like the schoolyard bully, our criminal justice system harasses people on small pretexts but is exposed as a coward before murder. German Lopez, Vox, "Protesters plan to block a busy road to draw attention to the high rates of violence in parts of the city.," 2 Aug. 2018 At the time, any American politician seen as too friendly to London was regarded as a supine coward. Robert Mitchell, Washington Post, "The fake letter historians believe tipped a presidential election," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coward.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of coward


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coward


Middle English, from Anglo-French cuard, from cue, coe tail, from Latin cauda

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Statistics for coward

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for coward

The first known use of coward was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of coward

: someone who is too afraid to do what is right or expected : someone who is not at all brave or courageous


cow·​ard | \ ˈkau̇-ərd How to pronounce coward (audio) \

Kids Definition of coward

: a person who shows shameful fear

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More from Merriam-Webster on coward

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coward

Spanish Central: Translation of coward

Nglish: Translation of coward for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coward for Arabic Speakers

Comments on coward

What made you want to look up coward? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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