As, white-livered, lily-livered. Cowardly. In the
auspices taken by the Greeks and Romans before battle, if the liver of
the animals sacrificed was healthy and blood-red, the omen was
favourable; but if pale, it augured defeat.
“Thou lily-livered boy.”
Shakespeare: Macbeth v. 3.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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