cowardly (adj.)

1550s, from coward + -ly (1). The adverb (late 14c.) is much 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.