Online Encyclopedia

COWARD

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 345 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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COWARD, a term of contempt for one who, before danger, pain or trouble, shows fear, whether physical or moral. The derivation of the word has been obscured by a connexion in sensewith the verb " cow," to instil fear into, which is derived from old Norse kuga, a word of similar meaning, and with the verb " cower," to crouch, which is also Scandinavian in origin.' The true derivation is from the French coe, an old form of queue, a tail, from Lat. cauda, hence couart or couard. The reference to " tail " is either to the expression " turn tail " in flight, or to the habit of animals dropping the tail between the legs when frightened; in heraldry, a lion in this position is a " lion coward." In the fable of Reynard the Fox the name of the hare is Coart, Kywart, Cuwaert or other variants.
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