Meaning of coward in English:



  • A person who is contemptibly lacking in the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.

    ‘they had run away—the cowards!’
    • ‘‘Our power is wielded by weaklings and cowards, and our honour is false in all its points’.’
    • ‘By demonstrating their courage, they have shown you for the cowards you are.’
    • ‘Due to my not being enraged or scared of these cowards, there was no fear, and I believe they sensed that.’
    • ‘They were barely able to drag themselves back to camp like the pathetic weaklings and cowards they are.’
    • ‘Were one half of mankind brave and one half cowards, the brave would be always beating the cowards.’
    • ‘You're one of those men who like to make cowards think you're tough and dangerous.’
    • ‘Anonymous sources generally are cowards, who often tell more than they know.’
    • ‘In the end this aids only those who are served by public uncertainty - the cowards and the ruthless.’
    • ‘All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites.’
    • ‘Yet I cannot believe that he is a moral coward by nature.’
    • ‘The great thing about academics is that they are typically spineless cowards who really do respond to sufficient pressure.’
    • ‘Oh, and by the way, you're a gutless, treasonous coward.’
    • ‘But, when officers confronted Parker, he proved to be a craven coward who literally pulsed with guilt.’
    • ‘To try to pretend he's not what he is: a poor, stinking, whimpering coward.’
    • ‘And in the end, he himself was revealed to be a miserable coward.’
    • ‘What about the possibility that we somehow have raised a generation of moral cowards?’
    • ‘Better to die of frostbite in that group of young guns than be branded a coward.’
    • ‘He resigns his commission and is branded a coward.’
    • ‘I am nothing but a coward who is too afraid to cruise the sea.’
    • ‘Hamlet says, this is what makes cowards of us all.’
    weakling, milksop, namby-pamby, mouse
    View synonyms


  • 1literary Excessively afraid of danger or pain.

    • ‘Aidan had lost count how many times he'd cried himself to sleep in order to escape the pain that he was too coward to relieve himself of.’
    • ‘We were always discussing that he is a coward man, that he will not fight for his life, that he will not fight for what he believes in.’
    • ‘She squared her jaw and turned, feeling foolishly coward.’
    • ‘I say it to you, coward spirit - not to anyone who abides by this code!’
    • ‘Surely everyone must have been able to hear the erratic pounding of her coward heart.’
  • 2Heraldry
    (of an animal) depicted with the tail between the hind legs.


Middle English from Old French couard, based on Latin cauda ‘tail’, possibly with reference to a frightened animal with its tail between its legs, reflected in coward (sense 2 of the adjective) (early 16th century).