Word of the Day: lily-livered
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Word of the Day from Merriam Webster Dictionary, Jan 14, 2020
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.