cow·​ard·​ice ˈkau̇(-ə)r-dəs How to pronounce cowardice (audio)
 dialectal  -(ˌ)dīs
: lack of courage or firmness of purpose
soldiers accused of cowardice

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 This kind of cowardice must be roundly condemned by all Americans. Tony Roberts, Baltimore Sun, 14 July 2024 What follows is a highly choreographed tableau of cowardice transforming into bravery then collapsing into what can only be considered modern dance. Vikram Murthi, Vulture, 4 Mar. 2024 In our political climate of cowardice and malleable morality, young people need such literature more than ever. Letters To The Editor, Orlando Sentinel, 17 June 2024 Heroism never enters the picture, apart from the willingness of Kirk Douglas’s Colonel Dax to try to expose the hypocrisy and wrongdoing of executing three men for cowardice. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 26 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for cowardice 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cowardice.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near cowardice

Cite this Entry

“Cowardice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


cow·​ard·​ice ˈkau̇(-ə)rd-əs How to pronounce cowardice (audio)
: lack of courage to face danger : shameful fear

More from Merriam-Webster on cowardice

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