cow·​ard·​ice | \ ˈkau̇(-ə)r-dəs How to pronounce cowardice (audio) , 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 If only this were where the story ended, Lizabeta would be made a hero, a statue of her raised in the town square, and the wise men would meet beneath it each day to remind themselves of their own cowardice and to be humbled in the shadow of a girl. Ew Staff,, "Read an excerpt from Leigh Bardugo's short story collection, The Lives of Saints," 2 Oct. 2020 What makes the book noteworthy is Woodward’s sad and subtle documentation of the ego, cowardice and self-delusion that, over and over, lead intelligent people to remain silent in the face of Trumpian outrages. Rosa Brooks, Washington Post, "Woodward’s ‘Rage’ is a damning account of Trump’s cowering sycophants and enablers," 10 Sep. 2020 Suddenly, there is violence, there is hate, there is fear, there is exceptionality, there are lies, there is resentment, there is division, there is chaos, there is cowardice, and there is looting. Itxu Díaz, National Review, "What Burke Would Say about the Riots," 3 Sep. 2020 Tis also a kind of cowardice that has introduced the custom of seconds, thirds and fourths... National Geographic, "En garde! Why France was the dueling capital of Europe," 19 Aug. 2020 Rather than the brave thing to do, it will be perceived as cowardice. Baltimore Sun Staff,, "What they’re saying about the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports," 11 Aug. 2020 The league’s cowardice became further entrenched when President Donald Trump used the protesting players as a dog whistle to rile up his base. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NFL's gestures in confronting racism are meaningless so long as Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned," 3 July 2020 Not one showed the cowardice of Trump, cringing in a bunker, afraid of his own citizens. The Washington Post, "Chatological Humor with Gene Weingarten," 2 June 2020 Equating militarized police units armed with tanks, lethal and non-lethal guns, and riot gear with protestors standing against the violence doled out by those same police is not just cowardice, but an intentional distortion of reality. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "Tear Gas Doesn’t Deploy Itself," 1 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for cowardice

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cowardice

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cowardice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for cowardice


How to pronounce cowardice (audio)

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 How to pronounce cowardice (audio) \

Kids Definition of cowardice

: shameful fear

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