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Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near cowardly

Cite this Entry

“Cowardly.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

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