From Middle English couren, curen, from Middle Low German kûren (“to lie in wait; linger”) or from Scandinavian (Icelandic kúra (“to doze”)). Cognate with German kauern (“to squat”), Dutch koeren (“to keep watch (in a cowered position)”). Unrelated to coward, which is of Latin origin.
- (intransitive) To crouch or cringe, or to avoid or shy away from something, in fear.
- He'd be useless in war. He'd just cower in his bunker until the enemy came in and shot him, or until the war was over.
- Our dame sits cowering o'er a kitchen fire.
- Like falcons, cowering on the nest.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for cower in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)