- Showing or suffering from nervousness or a lack of confidence.
“Some of the children seemed timorous as they waited their turn to play, but everyone at the piano recital got through their pieces.”
“I always felt timorous speaking in front of a crowd, so I decided to take a public speaking class last year to improve my confidence.”
“You may feel timorous, but I know you studied hard for this exam and you’re prepared.”
Latin, mid-15th century
Why this word?
Take a look at the adjective “timorous” and you can likely guess an almost-exact synonym: “timid.” Both come from the Latin verb “timere,” meaning “to fear,” but “timorous” was in use in late Middle English, around the mid-15th century, while “timid” didn’t enter English until the mid-16th century. While they are extremely close in meaning, there is a slight difference in usage. “Timorous” is best used when the nervousness is due to a fearfulness, while “timid” is the adjective for when shyness is in play.
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