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[blag-ahrd, -erd, blak-gahrd] /ˈblæg ɑrd, -ərd, ˈblækˌgɑrd/
a low, contemptible person; scoundrel.
  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)
to revile in scurrilous language.
Origin of blackguard
1525-35; black + guard; original sense obscure
Related forms
blackguardism, noun
blackguardly, adverb
1. scamp, rascal, rapscallion, rogue, devil, villain. 3. berate, vilify. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for blackguard
Historical Examples
  • He meets me at the station, and wants me to go straight home and blackguard Betty.

  • 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.

  • He declared that those "blackguard vegetables" were wild, mad, sublime!

  • I didn't think I had a blackguard for a son, who was a fool into the bargain.

  • But the blackguard was—was—well, he was not and never had been.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug Joseph C. Lincoln
  • He'll blackguard you mortal, and the Dempster himself is past it.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • The provost's men are beating the country for the blackguard.

    The Snare Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for blackguard


/ˈblæɡɑːd; -ɡəd/
  1. an unprincipled contemptible person; scoundrel
  2. (as modifier): blackguard language
(transitive) to ridicule or denounce with abusive language
(intransitive) to behave like a blackguard
Derived Forms
blackguardism, noun
blackguardly, 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
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Word Origin and History for blackguard

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
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