cower

verb cow·er \ ˈkau̇(-ə)r \
Updated on: 11 Dec 2017

Definition of cower

intransitive verb
: to shrink away or crouch especially for shelter from something that menaces, domineers, or dismays
  • They all cowered silently in their places, seeming to know in advance that some terrible thing was about to happen.
  • —George Orwell

Examples of cower in a Sentence

  1. They cowered at the sight of the gun.

  2. She was cowering in the closet.

  3. I cowered behind the door.

Recent Examples of cower from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of cower

Middle English couren, probably from Middle Low German kūren

cower Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of cower

fawn, toady, truckle, cringe, cower mean to behave abjectly before a superior. fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention.
    • waiters fawning over a celebrity
toady suggests the attempt to ingratiate oneself by an abjectly menial or subservient attitude.
    • toadying to his boss
truckle implies the subordination of oneself and one's desires or judgment to those of a superior.
    • truckling to a powerful lobbyist
cringe suggests a bowing or shrinking in fear or servility.
    • a cringing sycophant
cower suggests a display of abject fear in the company of threatening or domineering people.
    • cowering before a bully

COWER Defined for English Language Learners

cower

verb

Definition of cower for English Language Learners

  • : to move back or bend your body down because you are afraid


COWER Defined for Kids

cower

verb cow·er \ ˈkau̇-ər \

Definition of cower for Students

cowered; cowering
: to shrink away or crouch down shivering (as from fear)
  • The thunder made our dog cower.


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