Cowardice is a trait wherein fear and excess self-concern override doing or saying what is right, good, and of help to others or oneself in a time of need—it is the opposite of courage. As a label, “cowardice” indicates a failure of character in the face of a challenge.
What makes a coward?
Apparently I’ve been misusing the word “Coward” all these years. I’ve always thought that it was a synonym for a scaredy cat, a timid person. However, the word coward is a much greater insult than that.
The cowardly begin the Book of Revelation’s list of those damned to burn forever in a lake of fire, and they are the most despicable souls in Dante’s “Inferno.” Urbandictionary.com defines coward as “the most insulting word known to man.”
After learning of the proper meaning of “cowardice“, I looked through recent headlines for usage of the word coward. And it really got me thinking.
We seem to associate cowards with terrorists and criminals. The cowardly gangster who robbed the poor old man or the cowardly pedophile who preyed on the young child. Are the Dallas shooters cowards?
By the definition above, all these people aren’t cowards. Yes, they are definitely evil, despicable and horrible human beings. But are they cowards? Definitely not. They were most certainly not acting out of fear.
So, what are they? They are bullies. People who punch beneath the belt on purpose, picking on those who are unable to fight back. Only daring to commit these dastardly deeds because they think they are free of the consequences.