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Lily-Livered : Phrases


Used to describe a coward or weakling.


lily-livered pond-sucker refused to hand over the land title to Shawn!


The ancient Greeks used to sacrifice an animal before battle. The liver was regarded as a prime omen - if it was red then all was fine, but if it was pale then bad tidings were in store for them. By extension, the liver of a coward was thought to be pale and
lily livered. Other expressions were white livered and pigeon livered.

Alternative: The liver, the largest gland in our bodies, was once believed to be the seat of passion. It was also believed that the liver of a coward contained no blood, not as much
as you find in the foot of a flea, since a coward wasn't capable of passionate violence. Hence the expression white-livered and lily-livered for cowardly. Shakespeare wrote of cowards with livers white as milk.

Related Phrase :
Lily Bellied

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