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Cowardly   /kˈaʊərdli/   Listen
Cowardly

adjective
1.
Lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted.  Synonym: fearful.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Cowardly" Quotes from Famous Books



... always catching at the moment as it flew, he had not to fight with the timidities and irritations of a nervous temperament. His cheery courtesy was only disturbed when he became conscious of some sentiment which appeared to him mean or cowardly. On such occasions, not perhaps infrequent, his face looked as if his heart were physically fuming, and since his shell of stoicism was never quite melted by this heat, a very peculiar expression was the result, a sort of calm, sardonic, desperate, ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... orders, overloud and galling to men surging with cowardly and insufferable haste. "Lower tobsail—haul! Belay! Ubber tobsail—haul, you sons of dogs! Haul, dere, blast you! You vant me to come over ...
— The Second Class Passenger • Perceval Gibbon

... I strove to call up the hue and cry to come to the rescue, but the cowardly hinds were afraid of the thieves, and not one ...
— The Armourer's Prentices • Charlotte M. Yonge

... world state, will be shaped primarily to favour the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in humanity—beautiful and strong bodies, clear and powerful minds, and a growing body of knowledge—and to check the procreation of base and servile types, of fear-driven and cowardly souls, of all that is mean and ugly and bestial in the souls, bodies, or habits of men. To do the latter is to do the former; the two things are inseparable. And the method that nature has followed hitherto in the shaping of the world, whereby weakness ...
— Anticipations - Of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon - Human life and Thought • Herbert George Wells

... for you—we were deceived! Four moons have scarcely run, Since cowardly you've forfeited what we so bravely won! Squandered and cast to every wind the gain our death had brought! Aye, all, we know—each word and deed our spirit-ears have caught! Like waves came thundering every sound of wrong the ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. VII. • Various

... and encounter with me in any honorable point of activity whatsoever, and if he and thou prove me not a man, send me away comfortless. If thou refuse this, as a niggard of thy cates, I will have amongst you with my sword; for rather will I die valiantly, than perish with so cowardly an extreme." ...
— Rosalynde - or, Euphues' Golden Legacy • Thomas Lodge

... 'the usual thing. Brave words followed by a cowardly deed. What in the name of fortune you were doing in that galere you yourself know best. If these are politics, Horner, I say drop them. Politics are a stick, clean enough at the top, but you've got hold of the wrong end. Young Pleydell ...
— In Kedar's Tents • Henry Seton Merriman

... my child,' said he, with a dignity that was only tremulous from the acute sensitiveness of his character; 'I must do what my conscience bids. I have borne long with self-reproach that would have roused any mind less torpid and cowardly than mine.' He shook his head as he went on. 'Your poor mother's fond wish, gratified at last in the mocking way in which over-fond wishes are too often fulfilled—Sodom apples as they are—has brought on this crisis, for which I ought to be, and I hope I am thankful. It ...
— North and South • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... met the Alcalde in Juncal, and had roundly jeered him for his cowardly flight. He cited Jose and Rosendo as examples of valor, and pointed out that the Alcalde greatly resembled a captain who fled at the smell of gunpowder. Don Mario swelled with indignation and shame. His spleen worked particularly against Rosendo and the priest. Come what might, it was ...
— Carmen Ariza • Charles Francis Stocking

... and enraged by her silence and insensibility, the cowardly tutor could have found it in his heart to strike her. Fortunately the ray of light which now penetrated the carriage suggested an idea which he hastened to carry out. He had no paper, and, given paper, ...
— The Castle Inn • Stanley John Weyman

... become disturbed in such wise that it is impossible to shut one's eyes to the fact that here, as in Mayo, a sort of dead set is being made against grazing farmers. It is true that life is not taken, and, it may be added, not even threatened in Connemara proper, but outrages of a cowardly and destructive kind are common. During last winter an epidemic of destruction broke out, the effect of which may be seen in the large amount added to the county cess to give compensation to the injured persons. The grand jury has levied altogether between seven and eight hundred pounds more ...
— Disturbed Ireland - Being the Letters Written During the Winter of 1880-81. • Bernard H. Becker

... cut on the neck and two on the head, at which he appeared much surprised and began to cry, which, being a cowardly thing, is just what I should have ...
— A Letter Book - Selected with an Introduction on the History and Art of Letter-Writing • George Saintsbury

... make sure of the first blow. But his strength and skill being unequal to his pretensions, the many mortifying defeats he received, soon taught him the despicable cunning of assaulting none but those, who, he believed, were either too weak to contend with him, or too cowardly to stand in their own defence. The speedy consequence of such a dirty conduct was, that the bigger boys despised and laughed at him, and those who were less than himself, carefully shunned his company; so that ...
— Vice in its Proper Shape • Anonymous

... III.), after many migrations, settled down in Threadneedle Street in 1734. It has a history of its own, and we shall see during the Gordon Riots the old pewter inkstands melted down for bullets, and, prodigy of prodigies! Wilkes himself rushing out to seize the cowardly ringleaders! ...
— Old and New London - Volume I • Walter Thornbury

... of the most fascinating writers for youth, and withal one of the best to be found in this or any past age. Troops of young people hang over his vivid pages; and not one of them ever learned to be mean, ignoble, cowardly, selfish, or to yield to any vice from anything they ever read ...
— An Undivided Union • Oliver Optic

... was Poppy who brought me to Jesus," Roger said, a second before the door closed. "I ... I'd had a bit of trouble. I'd been very foolish.... I'll tell you about that later. It isn't because I'm cowardly and unrepentant that I won't tell it now. I've told it once on the Confession Bench in front of lots of people, so I'm not a coward. And I don't believe," he declared, casting a look of dislike at Richard and Ellen, "that the Lord would ...
— The Judge • Rebecca West

... who were now in power.[744] We shall see in the sequel with what speed Time wrought his political revenge. In the hearts of men the Gracchi were even more speedily avenged. The Roman people often alternated between bursts of passionate sentiment and abject states of cowardly contentment; but through all these phases of feeling the memory of the two reformers grew and flourished. To accept the Gracchi was an article of faith impressed on the proudest noble and the most ...
— A History of Rome, Vol 1 - During the late Republic and early Principate • A H.J. Greenidge

... on doing so. You know that no other woman will ever fill my place—but that makes no difference to you. You forget them—you want to punish me, so you want to take them from me. I'm justified in saying to you that it's an act of cowardly wickedness and a vile piece of vengeance! Ah! The children! You want to gamble with them now. No—to take them away from me—think, Pierre, think; it isn't possible, what you ...
— Woman on Her Own, False Gods & The Red Robe - Three Plays By Brieux • Eugene Brieux

... run," she replied, quickly. "I could not be so cowardly as to 'cry off' now. You must run, and you will win, I feel. Nobody here believes it but me; but I know it." Then, leaning towards him, she said, with a light laugh, and in tones so low that the others could not overhear her words, ...
— Belles and Ringers • Hawley Smart

... microbes been with us indeed, the Brazilians would not have turned us away as they did, from the doors of an hospital! for they are neither a cruel nor cowardly people. To turn sickness away would be cruel and stupid, to say the least! What we were expelled for I ...
— Voyage of the Liberdade • Captain Joshua Slocum

... much under the dominion of their priests. 4. The slaves, mulatto and black; the former enterprising and intelligent, the latter brave, and of very important weight, into whatever scale they throw themselves; but he thinks they will side with their masters. 5. The conquered Indians, cowardly, not likely to take any side, nor important which they take. 6. The free Indians, brave and formidable, should they interfere, but not likely to do so, as being at a great distance. I asked him the numbers of these several classes, ...
— Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson - Volume I • Thomas Jefferson

... spoken before about the quality of bravery. What is it, after all, and how can we analyze it? Women, we say, are cowardly, but I have seen a woman take a risk that the bravest man's nerve would turn on edge against. How is it? Can it be possible that they are braver than we? That our bravery is of the vaunting kind that telleth of itself? My answer, made up from ...
— When Knighthood Was in Flower • Charles Major

... what a fight you could put up if you were invisible? Why, you could walk right up in front of a fellow and smash his nose or knock him down before he could put up his guard or smash back—and even then he couldn't see you to hit you. Of course that would be a cowardly thing to do, but I'm just saying "Suppose." And this is to introduce right here your arch enemy, the devil, who is not a "suppose" at all, but is very real, very personal, and very invisible,—always present and ready to ...
— "Say Fellows—" - Fifty Practical Talks with Boys on Life's Big Issues • Wade C. Smith

... cowardly monks dropped their crucifixes, and, like the commoner sons of the Church, howled: ...
— The Prince of India - Or - Why Constantinople Fell - Volume 2 • Lew. Wallace

... for a second it wavered; then before the smoke had lifted it broke, and shrieking in terror, it fled for cover, leaving the valorous Souvestre alone, to revile them for a swarm of cowardly rats. ...
— The Trampling of the Lilies • Rafael Sabatini

... Flaccus stood by and watched their 56 treachery. He had not the courage to check the storm or even to rally the waverers and encourage the faithful. Sluggish and cowardly, it was mere indolence that kept him loyal. Four centurions of the Twenty-second legion, Nonius Receptus, Donatius Valens, Romilius Marcellus, and Calpurnius Repentinus, who tried to protect Galba's statues, were swept away by the rush of the soldiers and put under arrest. No one retained any ...
— Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II • Caius Cornelius Tacitus

... who saw Lee brought to Brunswick a prisoner, has this to say of him: "He was taken by a party of ours under Colonel Harcourt, who surrounded the house in which this arch-traitor was residing. Lee behaved as cowardly in this transaction as he had dishonorably in every other. After firing one or two shots from the house, he came out and entreated our troops to spare his life. Had he behaved with proper spirit I should have pitied him. I could hardly refrain from tears ...
— The Campaign of Trenton 1776-77 • Samuel Adams Drake

... Father," said Kentigern, holding out his hand. "I will prove that it was not this hand which cowardly used so small a thing as a tiny bird." Then holding the limp body in one hand and the downy head in the other, he stood before them all, looking up towards heaven, and made ...
— The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts • Abbie Farwell Brown

... He had had horses and automobiles to use; he had had great stretches of park and woodland to roam through and hunt over. And best of all, he had had the best teachers in all Greece. But these he had neglected and defied at every possible turn. Velo Kupenol was lazy, cowardly and deceitful. That he was not yet a criminal was due to the watchful care and great forgiveness of the uncle who had befriended him. In the past few years this forgiveness had been stretched to ...
— Shelled by an Unseen Foe • James Fiske

... dislike of Kathryn was gathering point and focus, in these days, by reason of her increasing references to Claims, and the All-Mind, and to the fact that the pain in a neglected tooth was only a manifestation of cowardly unbelief. The doctor scented mischief in the glib phrases. He held his peace heroically, though, albeit now and then he longed to shake his babbling patient as the terrier shakes ...
— The Brentons • Anna Chapin Ray

... my hat: how can I make a cowardly amends For what she has said to me? You will see me any morning in the park Reading the comics and the sporting page. Particularly I remark An English countess goes upon the stage. A Greek was murdered at a Polish dance, Another ...
— Prufrock and Other Observations • T. S. Eliot

... time; give me up; spurn me from you. Call your servants and point me out to them as a madman, who has dared to glide into your room; whose passion has made him blind and wild. Give me over to justice and to the scaffold. Only save yourself from my love, which is so cowardly, so egotistic, so hard-hearted; it has no strength in itself to choose banishment or death. Oh, Amelia! cast me away from your presence; trample me under your feet. I will die without one reproach, without ...
— Berlin and Sans-Souci • Louise Muhlbach

... from Nowhere." One of the modes of thought specially characteristic of eighteenth century French dolls is strongly to the fore in Mr. Wells' treatment of war. In the conversations "after the Change" between Melmount, the famous Cabinet Minister, and the pitiful, cowardly, inefficient hero (?), Leadford, they both appear to be inexpressibly shocked at the unreasonableness of war. It is true it is somewhat difficult to tell just what Melmount did think or feel, for Melmount is in one ...
— Socialism: Positive and Negative • Robert Rives La Monte

... resolutely turned her back upon it. But to-day it was with her, and there was no escaping it. It glared at her whichever way she turned, a monster of destruction waiting to devour. And she was afraid, horribly, unspeakably afraid, with a fear that was neither physical nor cowardly, yet which ...
— The Knave of Diamonds • Ethel May Dell

... my destiny, and bade me evade it by ascending to the stars. Why did I not go? Why did I not die? Why do I delay now? I will delay no longer." So saying, she began slowly to descend the steps. Kunda was but a woman, timid and cowardly; at each step she feared, at each step she shivered. Nevertheless she proceeded slowly with unshaken purpose to obey her mother's command. At this moment some one from behind touched her very gently on the shoulder. Some one said, "Kunda!" ...
— The Poison Tree - A Tale of Hindu Life in Bengal • Bankim Chandra Chatterjee

... the extremities of war there is no example of courage and intrepidity to exceed this. Happy those ages which knew not the dreadful fury of artillery!—those instruments of hell (where, I verily believe, the inventor is now receiving the reward of his diabolical ingenuity), by means of which the cowardly and the base can deprive the bravest soldier of life. While a gallant spirit animated with heroic ardor is pressing to glory, comes a chance ball, sent by one who perhaps fled in alarm at the flash of his own accursed weapon, and in an instant cuts short the life of him who deserved ...
— Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

... with those of the opposite section, the haughty slaveholders easily persuaded themselves and their dependents that they could successfully cope in arms with the Northern adversary, whom they affected to despise for his cowardly and mercenary disposition. Wealth, education, and ample leisure gave them the best opportunity for political studies and public employments. Long experience imparted skill in all the arts of government, ...
— The Continental Monthly , Vol. 2 No. 5, November 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... taming those which inhabit certain islands; while monkeys of the same species, caught on the neighbouring continent, die of terror or rage when they find themselves in the power of man. The crocodiles of one lake in the llanos are cowardly, and flee even when in the water; whilst those of another lake will attack with extreme intrepidity. It would be difficult to explain this difference of disposition and habits, by the mere aspect of the respective ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America • Alexander von Humboldt

... lied to me an' swindled me terribly, when he put off that old no-count hoss on me. Of course, I might have sued him, for a lie is a microbe which naturally develops into a lawyer's fee. But while it's a terrible braggart, it's really cowardly an' delicate, an' will die of lock-jaw if you only ...
— The Bishop of Cottontown - A Story of the Southern Cotton Mills • John Trotwood Moore

... war; though the earl insisted that he had done nothing but what he would readily justify, and that his intentions were to have divided the spoil among the whole army. But this being of no avail, and very much displeased at being deprived in so cowardly a manner of what he had so adventurously gained, he made his complaint to the king; and being successfully opposed there by the pride of the Count of Artois, the kings brother, who thwarted his claims with disdainful spite, he declared that he would serve no longer in their army, and bidding ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. II • Robert Kerr

... Eugene Mortlake," said the man of the island slowly. "After I knew I was ruined, I fled down here, where I was raised, and became a recluse on that island. It was cowardly of me, I know, but from now on I am going to lead a ...
— The Girl Aviators' Sky Cruise • Margaret Burnham

... good prose: "If we look forward to him [the deity] for help, we shall never be in danger of falling down those precipices which our imagination is apt to create. Like those who walk upon a line, if we keep our eye fixed upon one point, we may step forward securely; whereas an imprudent or cowardly glance on either side will infallibly destroy us." ...
— Lives of the Poets, Vol. 1 • Samuel Johnson

... on, half of the men who sent the news of it out to the civilised world found the Turk anathema maranatha, and the other half were persuaded that the Bulgarian was a beast altogether despicable and cowardly. Since the Bulgarians have had a chance to govern themselves they have amply disproved that unfavourable theory, and 'the unspeakable Turk,' of whom we heard so much in those days, was in the main as good a sort of fellow as might be found ...
— The Making Of A Novelist - An Experiment In Autobiography • David Christie Murray

... rumored that he has come into a large estate. Then came the Rebellion, and, presto! a flaw in our titles was discovered, the plate we were promised at the family table is flung at our head, and we were again the scum of creation, intolerably vulgar, at once cowardly and overbearing,—no relations of theirs, after all, but a dreggy hybrid of the basest bloods of Europe. Panurge was not quicker to call Friar John his former friend. I cannot help thinking of Walter Mapes's jingling ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell • James Lowell

... landed at Inversneyde, the ferry-house by the waterfall, and were not sorry to part with our boatman, who was a coarse hard-featured man, and, speaking of the French, uttered the basest and most cowardly sentiments. His helper, a youth fresh from the Isle of Skye, was innocent of this fault, and though but a bad rower, was a far better companion; he could not speak a word of English, and sang a plaintive Gaelic air in a low tone while he ...
— Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland A.D. 1803 • Dorothy Wordsworth

... who had fought in foreign wars and were familiar with deeds of valor, yet they felt no indignation at the scenes of cowardly oppression displayed before them; nobles of ancient families were here, but they could find in these brutal shows no stain upon their country's honor. Philosophers, poets, priests, rulers, the highest as well as the lowest in the land, crowded these seats; but the ...
— The Martyr of the Catacombs - A Tale of Ancient Rome • Anonymous

... and nothing is lost on trimmings. Lack of sense, lack of sense—" she waved her beaded bag in the air—"is what's the matter with the world. Women are slaves of custom; their most despairing quality is their cowardly devotion to the usual and their sheepy following of silly fashions. Woman's vanity and man's pampering of it are the cause of more trouble in most homes than fires and pestilence. Man is to blame for it. Through the ages he's been woman's dictator, and being too ...
— Miss Gibbie Gault • Kate Langley Bosher

... work. You can read that in the words. I can imagine him speaking them and hear the tone he would use. Besides—I have still a greater fear than the one of which you know. I don't want Dick, when he grows up, ever to think that I have been cowardly, and, because I was cowardly, disloyal ...
— The Broken Road • A. E. W. Mason

... steadily and quietly did the 11th, considered to be the crack regiment of the brigade, swing round; and as calmly and firmly did the Egyptian battalion—composed of the peasants who, but twenty years before, had been considered among the most cowardly of people, a host of whom would have fled before a dozen of the dreaded Dervishes—march into the gap between the two black regiments, and manfully ...
— With Kitchener in the Soudan - A Story of Atbara and Omdurman • G. A. Henty

... a weak, pusillanimous wretch you must be, having known me so long, and tried my temper so well, to hope to find me such a fool, after all,—that kind of fool, I mean! My deepest shame, in this unutterably shameful hour, is that I chose such a cowardly ass to besot myself with.—There, the subject sickens me, and I am going. Dare to follow me, and the geese of Hendrik shall have you. I go scot-free, fearing nothing, having nothing to lose; but I hold you, my exquisite Joseph Surface—oh, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 12, October, 1858 • Various

... the intention was horrible!" said Mr. Link, gravely. "Some people might think such an act incredible; but I have seen so much of the worst side of human nature that I am not surprised. Clyne was too cowardly to kill the man himself, so he thought to make Clear his own executioner by leaving the stiletto in his way. Well, sir, the weapon proved to be useful in the way it was intended by Clyne, for Clear was killed ...
— The Silent House • Fergus Hume

... in the most cowardly way possible, a woman's or child's being just as good as a man's ... so, as easier prey, the cowards seek them by lying ...
— Primitive Love and Love-Stories • Henry Theophilus Finck

... wretched Dick—are you willing, false friend—that this glory should belong to another? Must I then be untrue to my past history; recoil before obstacles that are not serious; requite with cowardly hesitation what both the English Government and the Royal Society of ...
— Five Weeks in a Balloon • Jules Verne

... towards you, the representative of my dead father? Nothing at all. I did it miserably, badly, I know. I clung to my heart's inclination with the very last breath of freedom I drew, and then when I had trampled it, though so cowardly, I felt that I had done my very best to repay you your devotedness and kindness. If destiny has pleased to show us that she was only trying us, we at least have given proof to one another of our confidence and love—but I earnestly hope that never again will destiny play the same ...
— Honor Edgeworth • Vera

... of their soldiers happened to elbow a lieutenant the other day, and the chap ran him through with his sword, and no one called him to account. The officers jostle and browbeat any civilian who will submit to it, and then try to get him into a duel, but I believe they're a cowardly lot at bottom. No man of real courage would bluster all over the ...
— Captain Jinks, Hero • Ernest Crosby

... no whit controlled, which indeed had now made itself master of her, came to a head, and, bursting through the floodgates of the eye, came rolling down, and in its fall, wetted her hand as it lay on her lap. "What a fool! what an idiot! what an empty-headed cowardly fool I am!" said she, springing up from the ...
— Doctor Thorne • Anthony Trollope

... yelling Texans. "Me no Alamo! Me no Alamo!" cried the terrified fugitives. The Texans did not stay their hands until they had killed six hundred and thirty and wounded two hundred and eight of their cowardly foes. The remainder of the Mexicans were allowed to surrender, and were not maltreated as prisoners. Santa Anna was captured while hiding in the grass at some distance from the battlefield, and ...
— The Land We Live In - The Story of Our Country • Henry Mann

... bit his lip and fell silent. He nevertheless looked at me with so threatening a scowl that, had he not been tied hard and fast, I should have been on the lookout for another cowardly attack. ...
— Swept Out to Sea - Clint Webb Among the Whalers • W. Bertram Foster

... men and the enemy are intermingled in their flight. They will reach the castle gates together; it will be impossible to let them in. Maria, run to the gatemen and tell them to close the gates and let no one in till father comes. That cowardly mass if they entered, would be no protection but surrender the castle. But wait; we will go together ...
— Chit-Chat; Nirvana; The Searchlight • Mathew Joseph Holt

... slave, the serf, of a stronger will—a will that has withered and crushed out, by slow degrees, the last trace of moral courage that might have beautified and strengthened my character; crushed it out, and left me a cowardly, miserable, helpless girl! But ...
— Leah Mordecai • Mrs. Belle Kendrick Abbott

... too well. Thus another illusion is shattered! The burden of all these disillusions, all these disgusts and disappointments, is too heavy to bear any longer. I must get away from it all before my health and intellect are completely shattered. I have always thought suicide a cowardly death for an Anarchist. Before taking leave of life it is his duty to strike a final blow at Society and I, at least, mean to strike it. Here the moment is in every way ripe. Ever since the explosion in Madrid, eight months ago, the Anarchists ...
— A Girl Among the Anarchists • Isabel Meredith

... not bring himself to desert the only being perhaps in England, excepting himself, whose heart was at Jerusalem; and that being a woman! There seemed something about it unknightly, unkind and cowardly, almost base. Lady Bertie was a heroine worthy of ancient Christendom rather than of enlightened Europe. In the old days, truly the good old days, when the magnetic power of Western Asia on the Gothic races had ...
— Tancred - Or, The New Crusade • Benjamin Disraeli

... "You little cowardly wretch!" he exclaimed, addressing Gus, "haven't you done mischief enough to Tom already? Go out ...
— The Adventures of a Three-Guinea Watch • Talbot Baines Reed

... "the author has told of the deliverance of the imperilled ones, and that Vittoria refrained from taking vengeance upon their cowardly foes; and so ends the story of that night ...
— Elsie at Nantucket • Martha Finley

... beast now appeared and asked to go along. This was none other than the famous Cowardly Lion, one of the most interesting creatures in all Oz. No lion that roamed the jungles or plains could compare in size or intelligence with this Cowardly Lion, who—like all animals living in Oz—could ...
— The Lost Princess of Oz • L. Frank Baum

... they have slain an enemy. Over blood and spoils they unveil the countenance, and proclaim that they have at length paid the debt of existence, and have proved themselves worthy of their country and parents. The cowardly and effeminate continue in their squalid disguise. The bravest among them wear also an iron ring [171] (a mark of ignominy in that nation) as a kind of chain, till they have released themselves by the slaughter of a foe. Many of the ...
— The Germany and the Agricola of Tacitus • Tacitus

... "They are cowardly weapons," Francois said, "but for all that they are useful in battle. When you are surrounded by three or four pikemen, thrusting at you, it is a good thing to be able to disembarrass yourself of ...
— Saint Bartholomew's Eve - A Tale of the Huguenot WarS • G. A. Henty

... then. A man in his position thus never learns the truth. He sees around him but plausible faces and the truth at a cowardly compromise. That's the sorrow of your Highlands; it will be the black curse of your chiefs in the day to come. As for me, I'm for duty first and last—even if it demands me to put a rope at my brother's neck or my hand ...
— John Splendid - The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn • Neil Munro

... "Come to me, ye cowardly little devil," roared Mack to his persisting assailant. "No one will hurt you! Come away, man! A-a-ah-ouch!" His cry of satisfaction at having grabbed his man ended in a howl of pain, for the Frenchman had got Mack's thumb between his teeth, ...
— The Man From Glengarry - A Tale Of The Ottawa • Ralph Connor

... common with the Corsican vendetta. In the one, the appeal to arms has always been tempered by a punctilious chivalry, which recoiled from the slightest unfairness in the attendant circumstances; in the other, the enemy is, if possible, taken unawares, shot down by a cowardly miscreant lurking behind a tree or a rock, or suddenly stabbed without an opportunity of putting himself on his defence. The practice of the ...
— Rambles in the Islands of Corsica and Sardinia - with Notices of their History, Antiquities, and Present Condition. • Thomas Forester

... worked and left them so much money they don't need to, and yet a sadder face I never saw, or a crosser one. He looks like he was going to hit people, and he does hit his horse an awful crack. It's no way to hit a horse, not even if it balks, because it can't hit back, and it's a cowardly thing to do. If you rub their ears and talk to them, they come quicker, O our Heavenly Father, and if you hit them just because you are mad, it's a ...
— Laddie • Gene Stratton Porter

... Prussian would have had about as little as a beetle at a woodpecker's prayer meeting!" The Saxons, on the other hand, displayed the individual courage of the Anglo-Saxon that helped to lessen our losses by enabling us to attack in open formation. Every animal will fight when forced to do so. The cowardly wolf will attack only in packs; and one of the main reasons for the wholesale holocausts of mass attacks seems to have been that same lack of real courage in the boastful and militarist element. He dare ...
— A Labrador Doctor - The Autobiography of Wilfred Thomason Grenfell • Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

... really is. He once served the rations in the army, and in that capacity went to Madrid during the last war. This is the only service he has ever seen, and he was discharged from that for dishonesty. He has never fought a duel for, to begin with, he is too cowardly, and then he knows well that a gentleman would receive a challenge from him with contempt; and if driven to extremities by his insolence, he would simply teach him ...
— A Cardinal Sin • Eugene Sue

... is bound to feel when this thing becomes public, as it certainly must if a murder has been done. The only way in which you can atone for your error is to go back and face the consequences with him—do not throw it all upon him; that would be cowardly." ...
— The Oakdale Affair • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... constructed, that it had still a reserve of power within it sufficient to keep the whole in motion for centuries, provided there was no attempt to introduce new wheels among the old. She had never been singularly distinguished for her military qualities; not that she was cowardly, and shrank from facing death, but because she lacked energy and enthusiasm for warlike enterprise. The tactics and armaments by which she had won her victories up to her prime, had at length become fetters which she was no ...
— History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 9 (of 12) • G. Maspero

... combination of circumstances"—Miss Van Rolsen spoke somewhat incoherently—"should these people have been led to settle on my niece as the victim of their cowardly designs? There are ...
— A Man and His Money • Frederic Stewart Isham

... long sought our poet, finds at last, Death, that pursued him over land and sea: Not his the flight of fear, the heart aghast With stony dread of immortality, He fled 'not cowardly'; Fled, as some captain, in whose shaping hand Lie the momentous fortunes of his land, Sheds not vainglorious blood upon the field, Death! why at last he finds his treasure isle, And he the pirate of its hidden hoard; ...
— Robert Louis Stevenson, an Elegy; And Other Poems • Richard Le Gallienne

... many more of our friends, that it would take long to reckon them up. These deeds they did by the power of Satan, by witchcraft, and by villainy; for it stands in our laws and country rights, that however highly a man may have been guilty, it shall be called villainy and cowardly murder to kill him in the night. This band has had its luck hitherto by following the counsel of men acquainted with witchcraft and fighting by night, and not in the light of day; and by this proceeding have they been victorious hitherto over the chiefs whose heads they have ...
— Heimskringla - The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway • Snorri Sturluson

... now, my lad, as you wish. I'm sorry to see a fellow like you in this position—particularly if you've had a good education, as you seem to have had. Cowardly thing, you know, to attack a child like that, isn't it? even if you were hungry. You ought to be more hardy than that, you know—a great fellow like you—than to mind a bit of hunger. Boys like you ought to enlist; that'd make a man of ...
— None Other Gods • Robert Hugh Benson

... scientific honesty, or political honesty. There is only one kind of honesty, and an honest man does not misrepresent an opponent, as Freeman misrepresented Froude. To call a man a liar is an insult. To say that is not a liar because he does not know the difference between truth and falsehood is a cowardly insult. But Froude was soon avenged. Freeman gave himself into his adversary's hands. "Sometimes," he wrote,* "Mr. Froude gives us the means of testing him. Let us try a somewhat remarkable passage. He tells ...
— The Life of Froude • Herbert Paul

... right, Brenhilda," said Count Robert; "our guardian. angel has watched his charge carefully. Here have we come among an, ignorant set of pedants, chattering their absurd language, and holding more important the least look that a cowardly Emperor can give, than the best blow that a good knight can deal. Believe me, I was wellnigh thinking that we had done ill to take the cross—God forgive such an impious doubt! Yet here, when we were even ...
— Waverley Volume XII • Sir Walter Scott

... one leg across the low sill. The two men stood breathless. Maria saw the intruder. She sat up, articulating his name. At that piteous sound, betraying him to her brother, the cowardly impulse of many days' growth carried Dr. Dunlap's hand like a flash to his pocket. He fired his pistol directly into Rice's breast, and dropped back through the window to the boat he had taken from ...
— Old Kaskaskia • Mary Hartwell Catherwood

... to your noble spirit, Arion," he replied. "But these men have planned a most cruel and cowardly murder, and cruelly shall they suffer for it. Seize me these ...
— The Children's Hour, Volume 3 (of 10) • Various

... far to increase the disgust of those who really served. Frank Wilkeson's Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac is a true voice from the ranks when he explains "how the resort to volunteering, the unprincipled dodge of cowardly politicians, ground up the choicest seed-corn of the nation; how it consumed the young, the patriotic, the intelligent, the generous, and the brave; and how it wasted the best moral, social, and political elements of the ...
— Captains of the Civil War - A Chronicle of the Blue and the Gray, Volume 31, The - Chronicles Of America Series • William Wood

... left in his charge the only manly thing to do, he argued, was to go directly to Mr. Crowninshield and himself acquaint him with the direful tidings. It would be cowardly to shunt this wretched task off on somebody else. It was his duty and his alone. Nevertheless, as he stood for a moment summoning his courage, he would have given all he possessed to escape the ...
— Walter and the Wireless • Sara Ware Bassett

... her part, seemed to have forgotten everything, and to have retained no other feeling but contempt for that weak, cowardly creature. Moreover, she had many ...
— Fromont and Risler, Complete • Alphonse Daudet

... enemies exulted, openly declaring that the King's adviser should die with the King. The heir to the throne was Louis' brother Gaston, a weak and cowardly prince, who detested the minister in office and hoped to overthrow him. When the sufferer {125} recovered there was much disappointment to be concealed. The Queen-Mother had set her heart on Marillac ...
— Heroes of Modern Europe • Alice Birkhead

... you my friendship—at cut rates, Mr. Carey. I was worthy of Hennage's trust and friendship until a few minutes ago. Harley P. Hennage never did a mean or a cowardly act, and to-day I used my power over you to extort half a million dollars from you to further a scheme of mine. I figured that the end justified the means. It did not, and I ask you to ...
— The Long Chance • Peter B. Kyne

... sensual excess and then crept back miserably to search for some spiritual flagellation. Above all, it was restless, as some one presses round a dark room searching for the lock of the door, restless and lonely, cowardly and selfish, but searching and sensitive and even faithful, faithful to something or to some one ... pursued also by something or some one. A figure to whom this world offered only opportunities for sin and failure and defeat, but a figure to whom this world ...
— The Captives • Hugh Walpole

... a reckless and cowardly act," expostulated Very. "It is true Wiles escaped from prison, but he will not do so again. He will be more closely guarded, and if he is found guilty of murder, will be properly punished." Then, turning to Wiles, he said: "You see, Wiles, ...
— The Kentucky Ranger • Edward T. Curnick

... women of the Commune, M. Maxime du Camp draws the following unflattering picture: "They were wicked and cowardly. Utilized by the police of the Rigaults and the Ferres, they were pitiless in the search for refractory citizens who hid themselves that they might not have the shame of serving the Commune.... From the heights of the pulpits of ...
— Paris from the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Volume 1 • William Walton

... to what she hinted, and he was still thinking of Ruthven when he said: "The most contemptible and cowardly thing a man can do is to fail a person dependent on him—when that person is in prospective danger. The dependence, the threatened helplessness must appeal to any man! How can he, then, fail to stand by a person ...
— The Younger Set • Robert W. Chambers

... going to leave me, then, my old playfellow," said the boy; "and there is an end of all our game at bo-peep with the cowardly lubbards whom I brought hither to have their broad-footed nags shed by ...
— Kenilworth • Sir Walter Scott

... than the Greeks really obeyed in the war with Troy. England, it has been sometimes said, went to war with Spain, during George II.'s reign, on account of Capt. Jenkins's ears, which a brutal Spanish officer, in the cowardly abuse of his power, had nailed to the mast. And if she did, the cause was a noble one, however unsuitably expounded by its outward heraldry. There the cause was noble, though the outward sign was ...
— The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. II (2 vols) • Thomas De Quincey

... his fibbing outright, so much, for then it wouldn't have seemed to come from his nature. But if he just let her believe what wasn't true, and didn't say a word to prevent her, of course it was worse. It showed something weak, something cowardly ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... helped a great deal, but I've shown I was willing to give my life, and perhaps I've got to; but I don't blame anybody, and if it was to do over again, I'd do it. I'm a little sorry I wasn't wounded in front; it looks cowardly to be hit in the back, but I obeyed orders, and it doesn't matter in the end, ...
— On Picket Duty and Other Tales • Louisa May Alcott

... all schoolboys never to 'split' on mates. The boy who tells is everywhere regarded as a sneak—at Waddy he speedily became a pariah—and Dick was a stickler for points of honour. To be caned was bad, but nothing to the gnawing shame of long weeks following upon a cowardly breach of faith. To all the questions Cann or Peterson could put with the object of eliciting the names of the participators in the big raid, Dick returned only a distressing and ...
— The Gold-Stealers - A Story of Waddy • Edward Dyson

... property of that woman whom I hate, as this chair or casket. I have a right to no hope, no ambition, no desire, no reward. I can only aspire to live without brutal treatment. That would be a sort of Elysium. If I was brave enough, I would kill myself, and go to sleep and forget it all. But I am weak and cowardly, ...
— A Friend of Caesar - A Tale of the Fall of the Roman Republic. Time, 50-47 B.C. • William Stearns Davis

... li'ble to rattle a feller like James. A man who can get around when a feller's back's turned, an' make love to his wife, ain't much of a man, is he? I mean he hasn't much grit. He's a coward sure. If he'd got grit he wouldn't do it. Well, that's how I figger 'bout this James. He's mean, an' a cowardly dog. I don't guess I'll have to use that gun, but I jest brought it along to scare him to his senses, if he needs it. Maybe though he won't need it when he sees me come along—y'see, I'm Jessie's ...
— The Twins of Suffering Creek • Ridgwell Cullum

... do not now remember, but he was a different sort of man from the boy just mentioned. We knew him to be quite a brave, nervy man in action, having been in one of our fighting scrapes with rustlers; but as a patient he showed a most cowardly disposition, developing a ferocious temper, rejecting medical advice, cursing everybody who came around, so that he lay for months at our charge, until we really got to wish that he would carry out his threat of self-destruction. ...
— Ranching, Sport and Travel • Thomas Carson

... of my anniversary? Where is the villain that dares to say it is not? Then that is a settled question. I hear no contradiction. Who dares contradict? I hear no reply. Who is afraid of the King of Babylon? If ye know of such an one, bring the cowardly dog to me, and I will take off his head—Ha! ha! ha! Old Jeremiah! Where is he? Ah, I'll soon put him out of the way. Can there be any danger while the King of Babylon is fighting with ...
— The Young Captives - A Story of Judah and Babylon • Erasmus W. Jones

... favoured by any considerable section of the nobles and people. The former were won over partly by fear, partly by hope of securing a share in the plunder of the Church; the latter, dismayed by the cowardly attitude shown by their spiritual and lay leaders, saw no hope of successful resistance. Had there been any strong feeling in England against the Holy See, some of the bishops and clergy would have spoken out clearly against the Pope, at a time when ...
— History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance • Rev. James MacCaffrey

... scratch with a pen upon parchment is becoming of more effect than a stroke with the sword. A bairn now stands as good a chance to hold and to have, as an armed man that has a hand to take and to defend. Such a state o' things was only made for those who are ower lazy to ride by night, and ower cowardly to fight. Never shall it be said that I, William Scott of Harden, was one who either submitted or conformed to it. Give me the good, old, manly law, that 'they shall keep who can,' and wi' my honest sword ...
— Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland, Volume 2 - Historical, Traditional, and Imaginative • Alexander Leighton

... you think they mean to do with us, Luka?" Godfrey asked. "Will they hand us over to the Russians, do you think? Cowardly blackguards. I wish now we had ...
— Condemned as a Nihilist - A Story of Escape from Siberia • George Alfred Henty

... usefulness, however, in this Department lies in prevention, The knowledge that the oppressed poor have in us a friend able to speak for them will often prevent the injustice which cowardly and avaricious persons might otherwise inflict, and the same considerations may induce them to accord without compulsion the right ...
— "In Darkest England and The Way Out" • General William Booth

... seemed that thought and imagination had never been so swift. If death found him presently, how would it come? Would he get decent burial or be left for the peccaries and the coyotes? Would his people ever know where he had fallen? How wretched, how miserable his state! It was cowardly, it was monstrous for him to cling longer to this doomed life. Then the hate in his heart, the hellish hate of these men on his trail—that was like a scourge. He felt no longer human. He had degenerated into an animal that could think. His heart ...
— The Lone Star Ranger • Zane Grey

... heart; he had gone alone, believing in the honour of his foes, ready to submit to expulsion, to imprisonment, and it was the latter that he expected; but he never dreamed that, going alone amongst his foes, they would use brutal and cowardly violence, and shame every Parliamentary tradition by personal outrage on a duly-elected member, outrage more worthy of a slum pot-house than of the great Commons House, the House of Hampden and of Vane, the House that had ...
— Annie Besant - An Autobiography • Annie Besant

... armies was still alive. But it now found expression in vile and insidious attacks upon the "scrap-iron" which was the pride of every true American heart. He did not hesitate to say that the man who would vote against an increase of 7000 per cent, ad valorem, upon railway iron would, if his cowardly soul would let him, have aimed the pistol of the assassin at the late ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 7, May 14, 1870 • Various

... from the reports of the night before. They were prepared to take a heavy loss on the bridges, but they had not prepared for the thing that defeated them; that as the mob is braver than the individual, so also it is more cowardly. ...
— A Poor Wise Man • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... far," said Jack quietly. "To my mind, men like you and your cowardly followers should be put out of the way the same as a mad dog; and certainly there is no law against ...
— The Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets - The Fall of the German Navy • Robert L. Drake

... Chuck is not naturally a fighter. Oh my, no! He is so good-natured and so sunny-hearted that he seldom quarrels with any one. But when he has to fight, there isn't a cowardly hair on him, not the teeniest, weeniest one. No one ever has a chance to cry, "'Fraid cat! Cry ...
— Mother West Wind's Children • Thornton W. Burgess

... through them, when they turned about, and galloped like fury, or, rather, like fear. As they passed the right face of our square the men, irritated by their rascally conduct, unanimously took up their pieces and fired a volley into them, and 'many a good fellow was destroyed so cowardly.' ...
— The Fifteen Decisive Battles of The World From Marathon to Waterloo • Sir Edward Creasy, M.A.

... his determination is weakened. It is therefore a vital necessity, quite apart from the humanitarian aspect, that the wounds of the civilians of belligerent countries should be cared for. If the civilians are allowed to become disheartened and cowardly, the heroic ideal of their fighting-men is jeopardised. This fact has been recognised by the Red Cross Societies of all countries in the present war; a large part of their energies has been devoted to social and relief ...
— Out To Win - The Story of America in France • Coningsby Dawson

... flourishing about a revolver and threatening to fire, I hold it utter idiocy. I have never tried it, however, so I speak from prejudice which arises from the feeling that there is something cowardly in it. Always have your revolver ready loaded in good order, and have your hand on it when things are getting warm, and in addition have an exceedingly good bowie knife, not a hinge knife, because with a hinge knife you have got to get it open—hard work in a country where all things go ...
— Travels in West Africa • Mary H. Kingsley

... pays, and any number of persons may ride in the cab without extra charge. Nothing exceeds my scorn for the English taxi-driver who demands another ninepence for an additional passenger, even though only a child—nothing except my scorn for the cowardly official who ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, November 24, 1920 • Various

... the infamous and cowardly Kieft ensconced himself securely within the walls of the fort. The bewailings of ruined farmers, and of widows and orphan children rose all around him. To divert public clamor, he fitted out several expeditions against the Indians. ...
— Peter Stuyvesant, the Last Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam • John S. C. Abbott

... gained by my seeing you," she went on, "and yet I am very glad you came. Now I can tell you what I feel. It is a selfish pleasure, but it is one of the last I shall have." And she paused, with her great misty eyes fixed upon him. "I know how I have deceived and injured you; I know how cruel and cowardly I have been. I see it as vividly as you do—I feel it to the ends of my fingers." And she unclasped her hands, which were locked together in her lap, lifted them, and dropped them at her side. "Anything that you may have said of me in your angriest passion ...
— The American • Henry James

... ambition, to his destruction. So you see, "Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God tempteth no man, but every one is tempted when he is led away by his own lust and enticed." Ahab was led away by his own lust; his cowardly love of hearing what was pleasant and flattering to him, rather than what was true—rather than what he knew he deserved; that was what enticed him to listen to Zedekiah and the false prophets, rather than to Micaiah the son of Imlah. THAT is what entices ...
— Twenty-Five Village Sermons • Charles Kingsley

... year solemn sacrifices were held in the great temple at Upsal in Sweden. The king and all citizens of importance must appear in person and bring offerings. Crowds came together on these occasions, and no one was excluded, except for some base or cowardly action. Nine human beings were sacrificed, usually captives or slaves, but in times of great calamity even a king was made a victim. Earl Hakon, of Norway, offered his son in sacrifice to obtain a victory over some pirates. The bodies ...
— Ten Great Religions - An Essay in Comparative Theology • James Freeman Clarke

... Red Un was possessed for the river and a lifebelt. So were the other three. The signs were responsible. Permitted, a ship's lifebelt was a subterfuge of the cowardly, white-livered skunks who were afraid of a little water; forbidden, a ship's lifebelt took on the qualities of enemy's property—to be reconnoitred, assaulted, captured and turned ...
— Love Stories • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... a pig, hence its Telegu name Pandi-koku, from which the word bandicoot is derived. McMaster states that the bandicoot, though so formidable in appearance, does not show so good a fight as an ordinary English rat, being a sluggish and cowardly animal; and though, from its size and weight, it takes a good deal of worrying, it seldom does much in self defence, and any moderately good dog can kill it with ease. It is however a most destructive animal, doing much damage to granaries, gardens, and even ...
— Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon • Robert A. Sterndale

... While saying this he exhibited a pistol which he held in his hand. "I know of no crime that I have done," calmly replied De la Riviere; and then, after obtaining permission to offer a brief prayer to God, he fearlessly presented his breast to the cowardly assassin. Montsoreau did not complete the extermination of the Huguenots of Angers, and Puigaillard soon after arrived to prosecute it; but the Protestant prisoners whom he was to have murdered knew his venal disposition, and found little ...
— History of the Rise of the Huguenots - Volume 2 • Henry Baird

... James. Yet his Britannic Majesty had made haste to exonerate the great criminal from all complicity in the crime; and had ever since been fawning upon the Catholic king, and hankering for a family alliance with him. Conduct like this the prince denounced in plain terms as cringing and cowardly, and expressed the opinion that guarantees of Dutch independence from such a monarch could hardly be ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... boldly declared that the Pythia philippized, and bade the Athenians and Thebans remember that "Pericles and Epaminondas, instead of listening to the frivolous answers of the oracle, the resort of the ignorant and cowardly, consulted only reason in ...
— The Galaxy, Volume 23, No. 2, February, 1877 • Various

... know. I ain't sure that it would be cowardice. If there were anybody I could injure by doing it, it would be cowardly." ...
— The Vicar of Bullhampton • Anthony Trollope

... our wine-room. I could now plainly see the brave little fellow; he was a thoroughbred, every inch of him. Long-Shanks was again approaching from behind and bawling after them through the length of the square. Little-Boy shrugged his shoulders with fine contempt. "You great, cowardly bully," said he, and stopping suddenly, turned right about and faced the enemy. At once Long-Shanks stopped too, and the two brothers ...
— Good Blood • Ernst Von Wildenbruch

... Give us our supper! What are you about with your Indian here? I'll teach you how to cook ham!" stammered Jim, making a lurch towards the stove. The men behind caught him and saved him. Eyeing the group with scorn, Mrs. Hartsel, who had not a cowardly nerve in her body, said: "Gentlemen, if you will take your seats at the table, I will bring in your supper immediately. ...
— Ramona • Helen Hunt Jackson

... think I have ever felt so happy about my work. I see it all so well—that crafty, cowardly Duke Robert; that melancholy Duchess Maddalena; that weak, showy, would-be chivalrous Duke Guidalfonso; and above all, the splendid figure of Medea. I feel as if I were the greatest historian of ...
— Hauntings • Vernon Lee

... steady attachment to his native place, and no little good sense in this adherence to his old profession... It is far manlier and nobler than that weak form of vanity shown in a slavish imitation of the great, and a cowardly shame of one's ...
— Jasmin: Barber, Poet, Philanthropist • Samuel Smiles

... as we could to get off the shore. Had we been capsized, our fate would have been sealed, for many of them were twenty feet in length, and could have crushed us and our canoe with one snap of their jaws. Happily, the brutes are as cowardly as they are powerful in appearance, and they were probably more frightened at us than we were at them. I rather think that Lejoillie, judging by his countenance, heartily ...
— In the Wilds of Florida - A Tale of Warfare and Hunting • W.H.G. Kingston



Words linked to "Cowardly" :   dastardly, white-livered, recreant, poltroon, craven, caitiff, funky, yellow, cowardliness, faint-hearted, timid, yellow-bellied, pusillanimous, lily-livered, fainthearted, faint, chicken, afraid, dastard, poor-spirited, fearful, ignoble, cowardice, coward, chickenhearted, brave, unmanly



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