[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. blackfin,
  2. blackfire,
  3. blackfish,
  4. blackfly,
  5. blackfoot,
  6. blackguardly,
  7. blackhead,
  8. blackheart,
  9. blackheath,
  10. blackie

Origin of blackguard

1525–35; black + guard; original sense obscure

Related formsblack·guard·ism, nounblack·guard·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blackguard

British Dictionary definitions for blackguard


/ (ˈblæɡɑːd, -ɡəd) /


  1. an unprincipled contemptible person; scoundrel
  2. (as modifier)blackguard language


(tr) to ridicule or denounce with abusive language
(intr) to behave like a blackguard
Derived Formsblackguardism, nounblackguardly, adjective

Word Origin for blackguard

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



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