Thursday, April 30, 2009


Thinking about Sean Hannity has caused me to wonder at some of the fine synonyms for coward.

Poltroon (a & n) - A lazy and cowardly fellow, the original slacker. From an Italian word for the couch he never rises from except to run like a chicken.

Caitiff (a & n) - A guy who is not just a coward but a miserly coward. This word fits Hannity to a T. Devolved from captivum, Latin for captive. It's original meaning as a miserable prisoner has become a description of someone who is just as miserable but because of his own rotted soul.

Craven (a & n) - Abject coward. From the Old French word cravante, meaning defeated. Think a whipped puppy kind of coward.

Pusillanimous (a) - Scared like a baby. From the Latin pusillus (little boy) and animus (mind).

Milksop (n) - In the Dark Ages a sick baby who was too weak to suckle would be given bread soaked in milk to suck upon.

Lily-Livered (a) - A Shakespearian turn of phrase from MacBeth. The liver was thought to be the seat of passion and courage. To be lily-livered is to have a white, hence bloodless liver and, therefore, to be without courage.

Chicken (n) - Usage of chicken meaning coward dates to the 14th century.

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