After a character in L Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).
- (figuratively) A person who acts tough but misses a golden opportunity out of fear or cowardice.
- "This $13 billion mutual fund, which calls itself "classic growth investing, the Janus way," is in reality a cowardly lion." -Forbes
- "California is right; we trust Washington state will follow in court. Earlier court decisions against the EPA's Cowardly Lion position on global warming suggest legal action may have good prospects." -Seattle Post Intelligencer
- "On the cowardly “lion” derisive nickname: The 49ers PR people are saying that Georgatos/Brown merely overheard a few players joking about that in the locker room, and that Smith was in on it–it was just jocularity among QBs, meaning nothing, and used out of context in the story. That’s what they’re saying." -