Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective pusillanimous differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of pusillanimous are cowardly, craven, and dastardly. While all these words mean "having or showing a lack of courage," pusillanimous suggests a contemptible lack of courage.

the pusillanimous fear of a future full of possibility

Where would cowardly be a reasonable alternative to pusillanimous?

In some situations, the words cowardly and pusillanimous are roughly equivalent. However, cowardly implies a weak or ignoble lack of courage.

a cowardly failure to stand up for principle

When might craven be a better fit than pusillanimous?

While the synonyms craven and pusillanimous are close in meaning, craven suggests extreme defeatism and complete lack of resistance.

secretly despised her own craven yes-men

In what contexts can dastardly take the place of pusillanimous?

The words dastardly and pusillanimous can be used in similar contexts, but dastardly often implies behavior that is both cowardly and treacherous or skulking or outrageous.

a dastardly attack on unarmed civilians

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Cite this Entry

“Pusillanimous.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/pusillanimous. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

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