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Aug 6, 2020
This week’s theme
Words derived from body parts

This week’s words
iron-hearted
pugnacious
ithyphallic
chicken-livered
hysteric

chicken-livered
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

chicken-livered

PRONUNCIATION:
(CHIK-en-LIV-uhrd)

MEANING:
adjective: Cowardly; easily frightened.

ETYMOLOGY:
The word chicken has traditionally been used to describe a coward. Also, earlier people believed that the liver was the seat of courage. But chicken-livered or chicken-hearted, it’s all the same. Earliest documented use: 1616.

NOTES:
The English language hasn’t been very kind to the domestic fowl. Some similar terms are chicken hawk and Chicken Little. Also see lily-livered and white-livered.

USAGE:
“Hadn’t I told her that he was no better’n a chicken-livered traitor?”
Theresa Nelson; The Year We Sailed the Sun; Atheneum; 2015.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
One of the primary tests of the mood of a society at any given time is whether its comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged. -Richard Hofstadter, historian (6 Aug 1916-1970)

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