coward

coward mid-13c., from O.Fr. coart "coward" (no longer the usual word in French, which has now in this sense poltron, from Italian, and láche), from coe "tail," from L. coda, popular dialect variant of cauda "tail," of uncertain origin + -ard, an agent noun suffix denoting one that carries on some action or possesses some quality, with derogatory connotation (see -ARD (Cf. -ard)). The word probably reflects an animal metaphoric sense still found in expressions like turning tail and tail between legs. Coart was the name of the hare in Old French versions of "Reynard the Fox." It. codardo, Sp. cobarde are from French.
The identification of coward & bully has gone so far in the popular consciousness that persons & acts in which no trace of fear is to be found are often called coward(ly) merely because advantage has been taken of superior strength or position .... [Fowler]
As a surname (attested from 1255) it represents O.E. cuhyrde "cow-herd." Farmer has coward's castle "a pulpit," "Because a clergyman may deliver himself therefrom without fear of contradiction or argument."

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Coward — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Barry Coward (1941–2011), britischer Historiker John Coward (* 1910), britischer Eishockeyspieler Harold G. Coward (* 1936), Religionswissenschaftler, Philosoph und Indologe Noël Coward (1899–1973),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Coward — Cow ard (kou ?rd), a. [OF. couard, coard, coart, n. and adj., F. couard, fr. OF. coe, coue, tail, F. queue (fr. L. coda, a form of cauda tail) + ard; orig., short tailed, as an epithet of the hare, or perh., turning tail, like a scared dog. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Coward — Coward, SC U.S. town in South Carolina Population (2000): 650 Housing Units (2000): 263 Land area (2000): 3.423126 sq. miles (8.865856 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.006545 sq. miles (0.016951 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.429671 sq. miles (8.882807 …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Coward, SC — U.S. town in South Carolina Population (2000): 650 Housing Units (2000): 263 Land area (2000): 3.423126 sq. miles (8.865856 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.006545 sq. miles (0.016951 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.429671 sq. miles (8.882807 sq. km)… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Coward — Cow ard, n. A person who lacks courage; a timid or pusillanimous person; a poltroon. [1913 Webster] A fool is nauseous, but a coward worse. Dryden. Syn: Craven; poltroon; dastard. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coward — [kou′ərd] n. [ME & OFr couard, coward, lit., with tail between the legs < OFr coue, coe, tail < L cauda, tail] a person who lacks courage, esp. one who is shamefully unable to control fear and so shrinks from danger or trouble adj. cowardly …   English World dictionary

  • Coward — Cow ard, v. t. To make timorous; to frighten. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] That which cowardeth a man s heart. Foxe. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Coward —   [ kaʊəd], Sir (seit 1970) Noël Pierce, englischer Schriftsteller, * Teddington (heute zu London) 16. 12. 1899, ✝ Port Maria (Jamaika) 26. 3. 1973; war mit seinen witzigen und geistreichen, ironischen und frivolen Gesellschaftsstücken der… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Coward — Coward, Sir No|ël (1899 1973) a British actor, singer, and writer of songs and plays. He is famous for his clever and humorous plays, such as Private Lives and Blithe Spirit, and his amusing song Mad Dogs and Englishmen …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • coward — [n] person who is scared, easily intimidated alarmist, baby*, caitiff, chicken*, chicken heart*, chicken liver*, craven, cur, dastard, deserter, faintheart, faint of heart, fraidy cat*, funk, gutless*, invertebrate*, jellyfish*, lily liver,… …   New thesaurus

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