Cowardly, lacking courage or bravery.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



cowardly, spineless, lacking courage, meek


brave, courageous, fearless, valiant

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun pusillanimousness, pusillanimity, pusillanimousnesses, pusillanimities
Verb None
Adjective pusillanimous
Adverb pusillanimously

Example Sentences

  • The pusillanimous leader lacked the courage and conviction to make difficult decisions during times of crisis, often opting for the path of least resistance.

  • Despite being capable and knowledgeable, he allowed his pusillanimous nature to hold him back from pursuing his dreams and taking risks.

  • The pusillanimous response of the government to the humanitarian crisis showed a lack of empathy and a failure to take decisive action.

  • In the face of adversity, she displayed a pusillanimous attitude, shrinking away from challenges and avoiding any form of confrontation or conflict.


The word “pusillanimous” originated from the Latin term “pusillus animus,” which translates to “little soul.” The prefix “pussillus” means “very small,” and “animus” refers to the soul or spirit. Thus, the word carries the connotation of having a small or weak spirit.

“Pusillanimous” is an adjective used to describe someone who lacks courage, determination, or resilience. It refers to a person who is timid, cowardly, or easily discouraged in the face of challenges or difficulties. Such individuals often exhibit a lack of confidence, avoid confrontations, and shy away from taking risks.

The usage of “pusillanimous” is often seen in contexts related to leadership, decision-making, and personal character. It can be employed to describe individuals who fail to stand up for their beliefs, lack the conviction to take action, or exhibit a general lack of fortitude in challenging situations. It implies a lack of inner strength and a tendency to shrink from responsibilities or confrontations.

Variations of “pusillanimous” include “pusillanimity” (noun form) and “pusillanimously” (adverb form). These variations maintain the same meaning and can be used to convey the concept of lacking courage or resilience.

It is important to note that “pusillanimous” is a somewhat formal or literary term and may not be commonly used in everyday speech. However, it remains a valuable word for expressing the idea of a person’s lack of bravery or determination in specific contexts.