What is the real meaning of the word cowardly?
The word "coward" comes from an old French word coart, a
combination of the word for "tail" and an agent noun suffix. It
would therefore have meant "one with a tail" — perhaps one in the
habit of turning it, or it may be derived from a dog's habit of
putting its tail between its legs when it is afraid. Another more
clearly related word, in old French, that can be related to coward
is "couard" which literally means coward and was frequently used by
French knights in battle. It is therefore possible that the English
language was enriched in such manner through military contacts with
the French, or with the French-influenced Normans that invaded
England in 1066.