One who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain.
Origin: Middle English, from Old French couard, from coue, tail, from Latin cauda.
Word History: A coward is one who “turns tail.” The word comes from Old French couart, coart, “coward,” and is related to Italian codardo, “coward.” Couart is formed from coe, a northern French dialectal variant of cue, “tail” (from Latin cōda), to which the derogatory suffix -ard was added. This suffix appears in bastard, laggard, and sluggard, to name a few. A coward may also be one with his tail between his legs. In heraldry a lion couard, “cowardly lion,” was depicted with his tail between his legs. So a coward may be one with his tail hidden between his legs or one who turns tail and runs like a rabbit, with his tail showing.
, Sir Noel Pierce 1899-1973.
British actor, playwright, and composer especially noted for his witty and worldly comedies, such as Hay Fever (1925) and Private Lives (1930).