- 1) Someone without courage. On the battlefield, the thegn was expected to fight and, if necessary, die with his lord - one reason for the loss of so many of the AS nobility, or "comitatus, at Hastings, in 1066. Cowardice was the lowest of qualities in the chivalric world where physical courage counted as much as physical prowess. A coward was a soldier who turned tail and ran. In old hunting terms a hare was referred to as la coward ou la court cowe, i.e. the coward or the short-tail. Coart was the name of the timid rabbit in Roman de Renart. [OldFr. coe = tail < Lat. cauda = tail] -Cf. Crakow2) Her. Describes a lion with its tail between its legs.Cf. Cowar
Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases. Christopher Coredon with Ann Williams.