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cower (v.)

early 14c., "to crouch, squat, or kneel;" late 14c., "to stoop or sink down, especially in fear or shame," probably from Middle Low German *kuren "lie in wait" (Modern German kauern), or similar Scandinavian words meaning "to squat" and "to doze" (such as Old Norse kura, Danish, Norwegian kure, Swedish kura). Thus it is unrelated to coward. Related: Cowered; cowering.