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blackguard

[blag-ahrd, -erd, blak-gahrd]
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noun
  1. a low, contemptible person; scoundrel.
  2. Obsolete.
    1. a group of menial workers in the kitchen of a large household.
    2. the servants of an army.
    3. camp followers.
verb (used with object)
  1. to revile in scurrilous language.

Origin of blackguard

1525–35; black + guard; original sense obscure
Related formsblack·guard·ism, nounblack·guard·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. scamp, rascal, rapscallion, rogue, devil, villain. 3. berate, vilify.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for blackguard

Historical Examples

  • He meets me at the station, and wants me to go straight home and blackguard Betty.

    The Incomplete Amorist

    E. Nesbit

  • Then you have to choose between being unhappy or being a blackguard.

  • Blackguard is a harsh word; but what other will express the idea?

  • He had entered the shop at eight o'clock that morning a blackguard as well as a vagabond.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • "We shall have to get rid of the blackguard at any price," said Pierre in a gloomy tone.


British Dictionary definitions for blackguard

blackguard

noun
    1. an unprincipled contemptible person; scoundrel
    2. (as modifier)blackguard language
verb
  1. (tr) to ridicule or denounce with abusive language
  2. (intr) to behave like a blackguard
Derived Formsblackguardism, nounblackguardly, adjective

Word Origin

C16: originally a collective noun referring to the lowest menials in court, camp followers, vagabonds; see black, guard
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 blackguard

n.

1530s, scullion, kitchen knave. Perhaps once an actual military or guard unit; more likely originally a mock-military reference to scullions and kitchen-knaves of noble households, of black-liveried personal guards, and of shoeblacks. By 1736, sense had emerged of "one of the criminal class." Hence the adjectival use (1784), "of low or worthless character."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper