yellow-bellied

To be yellow-bellied is to be cowardly or easily scared. If you're yellow-bellied, you're not brave. It’s the kind of word cowboys use, partner.

This word originally applied to birds that literally have a yellow belly, like the yellow-bellied sapsucker. From there, it came to mean an insult for cowards. If you're afraid to ask someone on a date, you're yellow-bellied. If you're easily frightened or spooked, you're yellow-bellied. This is often used as an insult or challenge, like "What are you, yellow-bellied?!"

Definitions of yellow-bellied
  1. adjective
    easily frightened
    synonyms: chicken, chickenhearted, lily-livered, white-livered, yellow
    cowardly, fearful
    lacking courage; ignobly timid and faint-hearted
Word Family
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