cow·​ard·​ice | \ ˈkau̇(-ə)r-dəs How to pronounce cowardice (audio) , dialectal -(ˌ)dīs \

Definition of cowardice

: lack of courage or firmness of purpose soldiers accused of cowardice

Examples of cowardice in a Sentence

the cowardice shown by political leaders who were willing to give the Nazis whatever they wanted
Recent Examples on the Web One of the few things that has held true consistently across the many decades of Joe Biden’s too-long political career is his cowardice. The Editors, National Review, 12 May 2022 For Farrell, the internal documents and emails revealed a horrifying panorama on corporate greed and political cowardice. Sari Horwitz, Washington Post, 7 July 2022 After a childhood act of cowardice, Amir spends most of the play reflecting on and trying to atone for his failure to come to the aid of his best friend. New York Times, 1 July 2022 That’s just cowardice, which is unbecoming of the L.A. County sheriff. Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2022 NoHo Hank is enjoying a romantic relationship with a fellow criminal, as well as the opportunity to rebuild the gang without anyone who became aware of his cowardice and general ineptitude before Barry killed them. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 22 Apr. 2022 The Democrats’ characteristic form of cowardice is risk aversion. George Packer, The Atlantic, 18 May 2022 As someone dedicated to real protest in the face of an incoming Nazi regime, Ruth (Davidson) directs the same rage toward her husband’s cowardice in standing up to the Reich. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 13 Apr. 2022 His latest appeal to Putin exposes the cowardice of that decision. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cowardice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of cowardice

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cowardice

Middle English cowardise, from Anglo-French coardise, from cuard — see coward

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

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cowardice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for cowardice


cow·​ard·​ice | \ ˈkau̇-ər-dəs How to pronounce cowardice (audio) \

Kids Definition of cowardice

: shameful fear

More from Merriam-Webster on cowardice

Nglish: Translation of cowardice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cowardice for Arabic Speakers


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