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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.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to revile in scurrilous language.
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Origin of blackguard

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

Synonyms

See more synonyms for blackguard on Thesaurus.com
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
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verb
  1. (tr) to ridicule or denounce with abusive language
  2. (intr) to behave like a blackguard
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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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper