cow·​ard·​ice | \ˈkau̇(-ə)r-dəs, dialectal -(ˌ)dīs\

Definition of cowardice 

: lack of courage or firmness of purpose soldiers accused of cowardice

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Examples of cowardice in a Sentence

the cowardice shown by political leaders who were willing to give the Nazis whatever they wanted

Recent Examples on the Web

His nose was always twitching for a sniff of cowardice or collusion. Alan Rusbridger, New York Times, "Seymour M. Hersh — the Journalist as Lone Wolf," 13 June 2018 This is no place for cowardice and nerves have no home here. Dania Haughton,, "Diana Taurasi and the Path to Longevity and Legacy," 28 May 2018 The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. Mukhtar Ahmad And Swati Gupta, CNN, "Prominent journalist gunned down in Kashmir," 14 June 2018 The cowardice of silence perpetuates injustice and anything that perpetuates evil is, by definition, also evil. Michael Harriot, The Root, "White People Are Cowards," 19 June 2018 There is no reason for this except cowardice on the part of civilian politicians far from the long strands of barbed wire. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "What's Happening at Gitmo Is a Disgrace," 8 Mar. 2018 By defending Trump's transgressions, by justifying his abuses, Republicans are creating an atmosphere in which corruption and cowardice thrive. Michael Gerson, Anchorage Daily News, "Republicans watch as Trump makes the executive branch his personal fiefdom," 6 Feb. 2018 The film follows a bourgeois family on a ski trip in the alps, only for a single moment of telling cowardice from the father to send the entire unit into a spiral of doubt, passive-aggression, and shame. Tom Philip, GQ, "Hulu Might Be the Best Movie Streaming Website," 3 May 2018 Their cowardice will be remembered just as surely as McCain’s wartime heroism. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Jerusalem Horror Show," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cowardice.' 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 cowardice

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cowardice

Middle English cowardise, from Anglo-French coardise, from cuard — see coward

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Statistics for cowardice

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for cowardice

The first known use of cowardice was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for cowardice



English Language Learners Definition of cowardice

: fear that makes you unable to do what is right or expected : lack of courage


cow·​ard·​ice | \ˈkau̇-ər-dəs \

Kids Definition of cowardice

: shameful fear

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Comments on cowardice

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