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See also: Coward



Borrowing from Old French coart, cuard ( > French couard), from coe (tail) + -ard (pejorative agent noun suffix); [Term?] (coe) is in turn from Latin cauda. The reference seems to be to an animal “turning tail”, or having its tail between its legs, especially a dog. Unrelated to cower.



coward (plural cowards)

  1. A person who lacks courage.
    • 1856: Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Part II Chapter IV, translated by Eleanor Marx-Aveling
      He tortured himself to find out how he could make his declaration to her, and always halting between the fear of displeasing her and the shame of being such a coward, he wept with discouragement and desire. Then he took energetic resolutions, wrote letters that he tore up, put it off to times that he again deferred.


Derived terms[edit]



coward (comparative more coward, superlative most coward)

  1. Cowardly.
    • , II.17:
      It is a coward and servile humour, for a man to disguise and hide himselfe under a maske, and not dare to shew himselfe as he is.
    • Shakespeare
      He raised the house with loud and coward cries.
    • Prior
      Invading fears repel my coward joy.
  2. (heraldry, of a lion) Borne in the escutcheon with his tail doubled between his legs.