Definition of timorous
1 : of a timid disposition : fearful reproached myself with being so timorous and cautious — Daniel Defoe
2 : expressing or suggesting timidity proceed with doubtful and timorous steps — Edward Gibbon
timorous was our Word of the Day on 03/23/2014. Hear the podcast!
Examples of timorous in a Sentence
a shy and timorous teenager
He spoke with a timorous voice.
Did You Know?
Timid and timorous don't just have similar spellings and meanings; they are etymologically related as well. Both words ultimately derive from the Latin verb timēre, meaning "to fear." The immediate ancestor of timid is Latin timidus (same meaning as timid), whereas timorous traveled to Middle English by way of the Latin noun timor ("fear") and the Medieval Latin adjective timorosus. Timid may be the more common of the two words, but timorous is older. It first appeared in English in the mid-15th century; timid came on the scene a century later. Both words can mean "easily frightened" (as in "a timid mouse" or "a timorous child") as well as "indicating or characterized by fear" (as in "he gave a timid smile" or "she took a timorous step forward").
Origin and Etymology of timorous
Middle English, from Medieval Latin timorosus, from Latin timor fear, from timēre to fear
First Known Use: 15th century
TIMOROUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of timorous for English Language Learners
: easily frightened
TIMOROUS Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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