One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Showing a lack of courage or determination; timid.
faint-hearted, lily-livered, chicken-hearted, pigeon-hearted, spiritless, spineless, cravencowardly, timorous, timid, fearful, faint-hearted, lily-livered, chicken-hearted, pigeon-hearted, spineless, craven, base, shrinking, trembling, quaking, cowering, weak-kneedView synonyms
- ‘You can thank a crowd of pusillanimous state legislators for that.’
- ‘The other Congress chief minister cannot be described as pusillanimous by any stretch of imagination.’
- ‘With a pusillanimous flourish, I moved in - but simultaneously I made secret arrangements to maintain the lease on my own flat.’
- ‘From the other end of the political spectrum come the pusillanimous speech codes on our college campuses.’
- ‘Neither of these pusillanimous reactions is remotely appropriate.’
- ‘The health motivation was pusillanimous and puritanical.’
- ‘Eventually, by its own lights, the movie stands or falls by what it has to say about race, and this is pusillanimous and muddled.’
- ‘They are supposed to abhor pusillanimous or sycophantic behavior.’
- ‘For the British, however, it has all turned to dust, surrendered by the pusillanimous politicians.’
- ‘Perhaps by reviewing a few highlights from my former life I might be able to explain how I adopted this pusillanimous attitude.’
- ‘Forever is a pusillanimous way of saying ‘as long as I live.’’
- ‘Once again, those pusillanimous, patronising, mealy-mouthed lectionary compilers have excelled themselves.’
- ‘Of course, these allegations do need to be investigated, but I can't help but suspect that the timing is at best pusillanimous.’
- ‘He will not want to be remembered for tuition fees, nor for the pusillanimous creation of foundation hospitals.’
- ‘Pray do not continue such pusillanimous writings.’
- ‘And yes, incidentally, I do know that it's ignoble and cowardly and pusillanimous, but I'll swap you for a decent night's sleep.’
- ‘He was just too pusillanimous to face me after I'd discovered that he had deceived me.’
- ‘But I suppose we can rely on you to be as pusillanimous as ever.’
- ‘On his mission to Fort George he evidently perceived that there was to be no relief column from the pusillanimous Webb.’
- ‘Whose fault is it - the inadequate voters or the pusillanimous politicians?’
Late Middle English: from ecclesiastical Latin pusillanimis (translating Greek oligopsukhos), from pusillus ‘very small’ + animus ‘mind’, + -ous.
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