white-livered


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white-liv·ered

(wīt′lĭv′ərd, hwīt′-)
adj.
Cowardly.

[From the notion that a deficiency of bile caused a pale liver and lack of vigor or courage.]

white-livered

adj
1. lacking in spirit or courage
2. pallid and unhealthy in appearance
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.white-livered - easily frightenedwhite-livered - easily frightened      
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
cowardly, fearful - lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted; "cowardly dogs, ye will not aid me then"- P.B.Shelley
References in classic literature ?
Then you're a white-livered fool, and I wash my hands of you,' grumbled the tempter, as he swung himself round and departed.
Butteridge--"a white-livered skunk," and this zoological aberration did in some legal and vexatious manner mar her social happines.
Because of this belief, lily-livered and white-livered have been used since the 16th century to mean cowardly.