cowardly

adverb
cow·​ard·​ly | \ ˈkau̇(-ə)rd-lē How to pronounce cowardly (audio) \

Definition of cowardly

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: in a cowardly manner

cowardly

adjective

Definition of cowardly (Entry 2 of 2)

: being, resembling, or befitting a coward a cowardly retreat

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Other Words from cowardly

Adjective

cowardliness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cowardly

Adjective

cowardly, pusillanimous, craven, dastardly mean having or showing a lack of courage. cowardly implies a weak or ignoble lack of courage. a cowardly failure to stand up for principle pusillanimous suggests a contemptible lack of courage. the pusillanimous fear of a future full of possibility craven suggests extreme defeatism and complete lack of resistance. secretly despised her own craven yes-men dastardly often implies behavior that is both cowardly and treacherous or skulking or outrageous. a dastardly attack on unarmed civilians

Examples of cowardly in a Sentence

Adjective He insisted on avoiding a cowardly retreat. She made a cowardly decision to go along with the group. a cowardly attack from behind
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb And the officer, the superior, a lieutenant, who is still injured at home, by the way, was cowardly attacked with a brick. Mark Morales, CNN, "NYPD Commissioner testifies in ongoing investigation into interactions between police and the public," 22 June 2020 There are cowardly racists hiding in the corners, hiding in their nasty existence. Nyakio Grieco, refinery29.com, "I’m A Black Entrepreneur Working To Keep My Husband, Children, & Business Alive — & I’m Exhausted," 8 June 2020 But the one that often comes to my mind is cowardly. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Five Gang Members Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 15-Year-Old Boy in Machete Attack," 12 Oct. 2019 But the one that often comes to my mind is cowardly. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Five Gang Members Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 15-Year-Old Boy in Machete Attack," 12 Oct. 2019 For proof that Republicans can be just as lazy, self-serving, and cowardly as Democrats, look no farther than the South Dakota Senate. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "The Cowardly Republicans of South Dakota," 13 Feb. 2020 Turning your back on your family with no explanation at all is cruel, punishing behavior and cowardly. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, "Dear Abby: Rabid football fan bullies co-workers about clothing color," 29 Feb. 2020 But the one that often comes to my mind is cowardly. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Five Gang Members Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 15-Year-Old Boy in Machete Attack," 12 Oct. 2019 But the one that often comes to my mind is cowardly. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Five Gang Members Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing 15-Year-Old Boy in Machete Attack," 12 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Just the steady drip, drip, drip of the erosion of democratic norms, the corruption of institutions, and the cowardly compromises of decision makers in courts and congresses. Sheila Coronel, The Atlantic, "Democracy Dies by a Thousand Cuts," 16 June 2020 Stick to sports was always a crutch for the comfortable and cowardly. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: As America burns amid protests after George Floyd's death, it's time to quit telling athletes to 'stick to sports'," 1 June 2020 Morrissey understands the snotty, cowardly nature of media braggarts as well as those who envy the commanding heights. Armond White, National Review, "Morrissey’s Prophetic Journal of the Plague Year," 29 Apr. 2020 Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. Jon Gambrell, BostonGlobe.com, "Iran launched missiles at Iraq bases that host US troops," 8 Jan. 2020 Powerful men, in cowardly efforts to avoid being dragged through the public mud for their bad actions, have used and enforced these non-disclosure agreements to buy the silence of their victims. Alyssa Milano, refinery29.com, "Alyssa Milano: The Next Phase of the #MeToo Movement? Justice," 26 Feb. 2020 Some suggest that liberal leaders are too cowardly to do so. The Economist, "A useful stick Christians are persecuted in many places. Autocrats exploit this," 18 Dec. 2019 The story turns courageous and cowardly, sometimes in a single scene. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Star Wars rewatch: The Last Jedi destroys a legend to rebuild the same legend," 16 Dec. 2019 And just like the rest of the cowardly Republicans, our junior senator — Cory Gardner — once again refuses to put country ahead of party. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Take a mulligan and keep Park Hill Golf Course; Heed the scientists’ warning; Quid pro quo doesn’t matter? (11/8/19)," 8 Nov. 2019

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

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1551, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for cowardly

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cowardly

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cowardly.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cowardly. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for cowardly

cowardly

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of cowardly

: afraid in a way that makes you unable to do what is right or expected : lacking courage

cowardly

adjective
cow·​ard·​ly | \ ˈkau̇-ərd-lē How to pronounce cowardly (audio) \

Kids Definition of cowardly

1 : shamefully fearful a cowardly traitor
2 : showing shameful fear Then he … said how hard-hearted and cowardly it was to hurt the weak …— Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

Other Words from cowardly

cowardliness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on cowardly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cowardly

Spanish Central: Translation of cowardly

Nglish: Translation of cowardly for Spanish Speakers

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