Synonyms & Antonyms of cowardly

(Entry 1 of 2)

having or showing a shameful lack of courage
  • a cowardly bully who picks on the weak and defenseless
  • vile charges that were made in a cowardly, unsigned letter

Synonyms for cowardly

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Antonyms for cowardly



Synonyms & Antonyms of cowardly (Entry 2 of 2)

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Frequently Asked Questions About cowardly

How does the adjective cowardly differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of cowardly are craven, dastardly, and pusillanimous. While all these words 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

When would craven be a good substitute for cowardly?

The synonyms craven and cowardly are sometimes interchangeable, but craven suggests extreme defeatism and complete lack of resistance.

secretly despised her own craven yes-men

When is it sensible to use dastardly instead of cowardly?

While in some cases nearly identical to cowardly, dastardly often implies behavior that is both cowardly and treacherous or skulking or outrageous.

a dastardly attack on unarmed civilians

When could pusillanimous be used to replace cowardly?

In some situations, the words pusillanimous and cowardly are roughly equivalent. However, pusillanimous suggests a contemptible lack of courage.

the pusillanimous fear of a future full of possibility

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

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Cite this Entry

“Cowardly.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cowardly

Nglish: Translation of cowardly for Spanish Speakers


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