Definition of cowardice in English:



  • 1Lack of bravery.

    ‘my cowardice got the better of me and I crept out of the room’
    ‘his 11th-hour decision not to hold an election led to accusations of cowardice’
    • ‘Is it really just a case of editorial cowardice or am I just plain wrong?’
    • ‘It seeks pardons only for those killed for desertion and cowardice.’
    • ‘Some have dismissed this as cowardice by the court, but its not really.’
    • ‘When he acts with prudence, he must see to it that his prudence is not mistaken for cowardice or sloth.’
    • ‘There is no reason for this other than craven cowardice in the face of power.’
    • ‘Medieval people had a horror of treachery and cowardice; the two were often felt to go hand in hand.’
    • ‘But remaining silent in the face of hatred is not a perspective, it is rueful cowardice.’
    • ‘The only think that's stopping me is fear, cowardice, a reluctance to take risks and look dumb.’
    • ‘It was possible to speak more freely of courage, of cowardice, of fears and fantasies.’
    • ‘For mere seconds I toyed with cowardice, before curiosity and professionalism won out.’
    • ‘The author of one letter, which I threw away with reflexive cowardice, threatened to beat me up.’
    • ‘He thought about ritual suicide and how it had changed from a demonstration of bravery to one of cowardice.’
    • ‘The Premier's failure to seize it was an act of gross cowardice.’
    • ‘If there was an Olympic medal for cowardice, I'd be a contender for gold.’
    • ‘He says infantry that didn't keep moving and attacking would be accused of cowardice or dereliction of duty.’
    • ‘Is it cowardice, the lack of moral backbone to tell the truth whatever the cost?’
    • ‘Now this is my turn to accuse, but I base my accusation on fact, not fear and cowardice.’
    • ‘We have to make a definite move to cross over the boundary from cowardice to bravery.’
    • ‘The cowardice of those prepared to gossip to journalists but not join 24 others in signing a secret letter is pitiable.’
    • ‘I fear I will never know if it is cowardice, or the bravest thing I have ever done.’
    faint-heartedness, spiritlessness, spinelessness, timidity, timorousness, fearfulness, pusillanimity, weakness, feebleness
    gutlessness, wimpishness, wimpiness, sissiness
    poltroonery, recreancy
    View synonyms
  • 2rare [count noun] A group of mongrels or feral dogs.

    • ‘What deity draws his bow for such a cowardice of curs as run your streets?’


Middle English: from Old French couardise, from couard (see coward).