What does cowardice mean?

Definitions for cowardice
ˈkaʊ ər dɪscow·ardice

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word cowardice.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. cowardice, cowardlinessnoun

    the trait of lacking courage


  1. cowardicenoun

    Lack of courage.

  2. Etymology: cowardise, from cuardise (modern French: couardise).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Cowardicenoun

    Fear; habitual timidity; pusillanimity; want of courage.

    Etymology: from coward.

    Certes, sir knight, ye been too much to blame,
    Thus for to blot the honour of the dead;
    And with foul cowardice his carcase shame,
    Whose living hands immortaliz’d his name. Fairy Queen.

    Gallant and fearless courage will turn into a native and heroick valour, and make them hate the cowardice of doing wrong. John Milton, on Education.

    None was disgrac’d; for falling is no shame,
    And cowardice alone is loss of fame;
    The vent’rous knight is from the saddle thrown,
    But ’tis the fault of fortune, not his own. John Dryden, Fables.

    This great, this holy, this terrible Being, is present to all our affections; sees every treacherous inclination of our heart to desert his service; and treasures up, against the day of his wrath, the secret cowardice which deters us from asserting his cause, which prevails on us to compliment the vices of the great, to applaud the libertine, and laugh with the prophane. John Rogers, Sermon 4.


  1. Cowardice

    Cowardice is a trait wherein excessive fear prevents an individual from taking a risk or facing danger. It is the opposite of courage. As a label, "cowardice" indicates a failure of character in the face of a challenge. One who succumbs to cowardice is known as a coward.As the opposite of bravery, which many historical and current human societies reward, cowardice is seen as a character flaw that is detrimental to society and thus the failure to face one's fear is often stigmatized and/or punished.


  1. cowardice

    Cowardice is a characteristic or trait defined by a lack of courage or bravery in facing fear, danger, difficulty, or adversity. It is often associated with the act of running away from challenging situations instead of confronting them.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Cowardicenoun

    want of courage to face danger; extreme timidity; pusillanimity; base fear of danger or hurt; lack of spirit

  2. Etymology: [F. couardise, fr. couard. See Coward.]


  1. Cowardice

    Cowardice is a trait wherein fear and excess self-concern override doing or saying what is right, good and of help to others or oneself in a time of need—it is the opposite of courage. As a label, "cowardice" indicates a failure of character in the face of a challenge. “Cowardice is impotence worse than violence. The coward desires revenge but being afraid to die, he looks to others, maybe to the government of the day, to do the work of defense for him. A coward is less than a man. He does not deserve to be a member of a society of men and women.” - Mahatma Gandhi Under many military codes of justice, cowardice in combat is a crime punishable by death. The term describes a character flaw which has been shunned and disdained within most, if not all cultures, whilst courage, typically viewed as a virtue, is admired and encouraged.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. cowardice

    Are criminal by law, even in the crew of a merchant-ship. Such poltroonery is very rare.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. cowardice

    See Appendix, Articles of War, 42.

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How to pronounce cowardice?

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of cowardice in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of cowardice in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of cowardice in a Sentence

  1. President Obama:

    Lieutenant al-Kaseasbeh's dedication, courage and service to his country and family represent universal human values that stand in opposition to the cowardice and depravity of ISIL, which has been so broadly rejected around the globe.

  2. Edward Whelan:

    The chief surely knows that his job is to be on the right side of the Constitution, blatherings about the 'wrong side of history' are an appeal to intellectual cowardice. – Edward Whelan

  3. Joe Biden:

    Threatening the safety of Americans or any innocent civilians is always unacceptable, and hostage-taking is an act of particular cruelty and cowardice, the Taliban must immediately release Mark before it can expect any consideration of its aspirations for legitimacy. This is not negotiable.

  4. Hosea Ballou:

    Falsehood is cowardice, the truth courage.

  5. Annie Dillard:

    It could be that our faithlessness is a cowering cowardice born of our very smallness, a massive failure of imagination... If we were to judge nature by common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed.

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Translations for cowardice

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"cowardice." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 15 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/cowardice>.

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