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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for blackguard
Historical Examples
  • Some blackguard or other, I think it was Sybrandt, said, "A lie is not like a blow with a curtal axe."

  • "I wonder can the blackguard swim," said Felix, who had his rifle ready to fire.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • Let me tell you, sir, that if youre not a lunatic, youre a blackguard.

    Twos and Threes G. B. Stern
  • "Jose-Maria is nothing but a blackguard," said the stranger gravely.

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • I ought to have suspected something when Sterling told me he was getting ten per cent for my money,—the blackguard!

    The Climbers Clyde Fitch
  • He was sitting quite quietly on his bench until that moment, the blackguard!

    Virgin Soil Ivan S. Turgenev
  • You don't mean that this is the blackguard who wrote that account of the defalcation in the Events?

    The Quality of Mercy W. D. Howells
  • There was no one in sight when we got here; but the blackguard can't be far away!

    The New Tenant E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • I'm a blackguard fast enough; but there's no good talking about it.

  • Every true Englishman, I'm thankful to say, thinks him a scoundrel and a blackguard.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
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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