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a suffix forming nouns that denote persons who regularly engage in an activity, or who are characterized in a certain way, as indicated by the stem; now usually pejorative: coward; dullard; drunkard; wizard.
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Also -art.

Origin of -ard

Middle English <Old French, probably extracted from Frankish compound personal names; compare Old High German Adalhart (French Alard), Bernhart (French Bernard), with 2nd element -hart literally, strong, hardy, hard (cognate with Old English -heard in names), often merely as intensifier of quality denoted in 1st element.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -ard mean?

The combining form -ard is a suffix denoting “someone who engages often in an activity,” and it is frequently pejorative. It is often used in everyday terms.

The form -ard comes from German -hard, meaning “strong; hardy; hard,” which is a cognate of English hard.

What are variants of -ard?

In some rare instances, the form -ard becomes -art, as in braggart. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use article about -art.

Examples of -ard

An example of a word you may have encountered that features -ard is drunkard, “a habitual drinker of alcohol who is frequently intoxicated.”

The drunk- part of the word means “intoxicated.” The suffix -ard, as we have seen, is a suffix that means “someone who engages often in an activity,” often in a pejorative sense. Drunkard literally translates to “someone who is often intoxicated.”

What are some words that use the equivalent of the combining form -ard in Middle English or Old French?

What are some other forms that -ard may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that ends with the exact letters -ard, such as forward or board, is necessarily using the combining form -ard to denote “someone who engages often in an activity.” Learn why forward means “onward” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

The word dull has a variety of meanings, including “not bright” or “boring.” With this in mind, along with the meaning of -ard, what does dullard literally mean?

How to use -ard in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for -ard



suffix forming nouns
indicating a person who does something, esp to excess, or is characterized by a certain qualitybraggart; drunkard; dullard

Word Origin for -ard

via Old French from Germanic -hard (literally: hardy, bold), the final element in many Germanic masculine names, such as Bernhard Bernard, Gerhart Gerard, etc
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