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  1. (formerly) a person who composed and recited epic or heroic poems, often while playing the harp, lyre, or the like.
  2. one of an ancient Celtic order of composers and reciters of poetry.
  3. any poet.
  4. the bard, William Shakespeare.

Origin of bard1

1400–50; late Middle English < Celtic; compare Irish, Scots Gaelic bard, Welsh bardd, Breton barz < Indo-European *gwrs-do-s singer, akin to Albanian grisha (I) invited (to a wedding)
Related formsbard·ic, adjectivebard·ish, bard·like, adjectivebard·ship, noun


  1. Armor. any of various pieces of defensive armor for a horse.
  2. Cookery. a thin slice of fat or bacon secured to a roast of meat or poultry to prevent its drying out while cooking.
verb (used with object)
  1. Armor. to caparison with bards.
  2. Cookery. to secure thin slices of fat or bacon to (a roast of meat or poultry) before cooking.
Also barde (for defs 1, 3).

Origin of bard2

1470–80; < Middle French barde < Southern Italian barda armor for a horse < Arabic bardaʿah packsaddle < Persian pardah covering
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bard

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The bard had come to see whether the stories about the harp were true or not.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • The bard could no more stop his weary legs than could the other lunatics.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • Of this the Bard remarks “ni mad,” it was not honourable, “non bene.”

    Y Gododin


  • Chaise was scarcely a bard, but a singer of the songs of bards.

  • "You hadn't fancy for it, my good fellow," said the bard, angry again.

    John Splendid

    Neil Munro

British Dictionary definitions for bard


    1. (formerly) one of an ancient Celtic order of poets who recited verses about the exploits, often legendary, of their tribes
    2. (in modern times) a poet who wins a verse competition at a Welsh eisteddfod
  1. archaic, or literary any poet, esp one who writes lyric or heroic verse or is of national importance
Derived Formsbardic, adjectivebardism, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Scottish Gaelic; related to Welsh bardd



  1. a piece of larding bacon or pork fat placed on game or lean meat during roasting to prevent drying out
  2. an ornamental caparison for a horse
verb (tr)
  1. to place a bard on

Word Origin

C15: from Old French barde, from Old Italian barda, from Arabic barda`ah packsaddle


  1. the Bard an epithet of William Shakespeare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bard


mid-15c., from Scottish, from Old Celtic bardos "poet, singer," from PIE root *gwer- "to lift up the voice, praise." In historical times, a term of contempt among the Scots (who considered them itinerant troublemakers), but one of great respect among the Welsh.

All vagabundis, fulis, bardis, scudlaris, and siclike idill pepill, sall be brint on the cheek. [local Scottish ordinance, c.1500]

Subsequently idealized by Scott in the more ancient sense of "lyric poet, singer." Poetic use of the word in English is from Greek bardos, Latin bardus, both from Gaulish.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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