Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to coward

coda (n.)

"passage added to a musical composition for the purpose of bringing it to a conclusion," 1753, from Latin cauda "tail of an animal," which is of uncertain origin. De Vaan traces it to Proto-Italic *kaud-a- "part; tail," from PIE *kehu-d- "cleaved, separate," from root *khu-. He writes: "Since words for 'piece, part' are often derived from 'to cut, cleave', the tail may have been referred to as the loose 'part' of the animal."

Advertisement
-ard 
also -art, from Old French -ard, -art, from German -hard, -hart "hardy," forming the second element in many personal names, often used as an intensifier, but in Middle High German and Dutch used as a pejorative element in common nouns, and thus passing into Middle English in bastard, coward, blaffard ("one who stammers"), etc. It thus became a living element in English, as in buzzard, drunkard. The German element is from Proto-Germanic *-hart/*-hard "bold, hardy," from PIE root *kar- "hard."
cowardice (n.)

"want of courage to face danger, dread of harm or pain," c. 1300, from Old French coardise (13c.), from coard, coart "coward" (see coward) + noun suffix -ise.

Cowardice, as distinguished from panic, is almost always simply a lack of ability to suspend the functioning of the imagination. [Ernest Hemingway, "Men at War," 1942]
cowardly (adj.)

"wanting courage to face danger or endure harm or pain," 1550s, from coward + -ly (1). The adverb (late 14c., from -ly (2)) is older than the adjective:

Yit had I levir do what I may Than here to dye thus cowerdelye ["Le Morte d'Arthur," c. 1450]

An Old English word for "cowardly" was earg, which also meant "slothful." Related: Cowardliness.