as in to cringe
to draw back or crouch down in fearful submission the abused dog always cowered in the presence of its master

Synonyms & Similar Words


Synonym Chooser

How is the word cower distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of cower are cringe, fawn, toady, and truckle. While all these words mean "to behave abjectly before a superior," cower suggests a display of abject fear in the company of threatening or domineering people.

cowering before a bully

When might cringe be a better fit than cower?

The synonyms cringe and cower are sometimes interchangeable, but cringe suggests a bowing or shrinking in fear or servility.

a cringing sycophant

When could fawn be used to replace cower?

While in some cases nearly identical to cower, fawn implies seeking favor by servile flattery or exaggerated attention.

waiters fawning over a celebrity

In what contexts can toady take the place of cower?

In some situations, the words toady and cower are roughly equivalent. However, toady suggests the attempt to ingratiate oneself by an abjectly menial or subservient attitude.

toadying to his boss

When is truckle a more appropriate choice than cower?

Although the words truckle and cower have much in common, truckle implies the subordination of oneself and one's desires or judgment to those of a superior.

truckling to a powerful lobbyist

Thesaurus Entries Near cower

Cite this Entry

“Cower.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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