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Word of the Day: lily-livered

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Word of the Day from Merriam Webster Dictionary, Jan 14, 2020

lily-livered: adjective

Definition:
lacking courage; cowardly


DID YOU KNOW?
The basis of the word lily-livered lies in an old belief. Years ago, people thought that health and temperament were the products of a balance or imbalance of four bodily fluids, or humors: blood, phlegm, blac
k bile, and yellow bile. It was believed that a deficiency of yellow bile, or choler, the humor that governed anger, spirit, and courage, would leave a person's liver colorless or white. Someone with this deficiency, and so white-livered, would be spiritless and a coward. Lily-livered and white
-livered have been used synonymously since the 17th century, but lily-livered is now the more common expression, probably because of its alliteration.
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