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[blak-leg] /ˈblækˌlɛg/
Also called black quarter, symptomatic anthrax. Veterinary Pathology. an infectious, often fatal disease of cattle and sheep, caused by the soil bacterium Clostridium chauvoei and characterized by painful, gaseous swellings in the muscles, usually of the upper parts of the legs.
Plant Pathology.
  1. a disease of cabbage and other cruciferous plants, characterized by dry, black lesions on the base of the stem, caused by a fungus, Phoma lingam.
  2. a disease of potatoes, characterized by wet, black lesions on the base of the stem, caused by a bacterium, Erwinia atroseptica.
a swindler, especially in racing or gambling.
British Informal. a strikebreaker; scab.
verb (used with object), blacklegged, blacklegging. British Informal.
to replace (a worker) who is on strike.
to refuse to support (a union, union workers, or a strike).
to betray or deceive (a person or cause).
verb (used without object), blacklegged, blacklegging.
British Informal. to return to work before a strike is settled.
Origin of blackleg
1715-25; black + leg; orig. of nonliteral senses unclear; cf. jackleg Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for blackleg
  • blackleg is another common disease that also may cause lodging.
  • blackleg was at first suspected and fear of losing the entire herd prompted quick action.
British Dictionary definitions for blackleg


(Brit) Also called scab
  1. a person who acts against the interests of a trade union, as by continuing to work during a strike or taking over a striker's job
  2. (as modifier): blackleg labour
Also called black quarter. an acute infectious disease of cattle, sheep, and pigs, characterized by gas-filled swellings, esp on the legs, caused by Clostridium bacteria
(plant pathol)
  1. a fungal disease of cabbages and related plants caused by Phoma lingam, characterized by blackening and decay of the lower stems
  2. a similar disease of potatoes, caused by bacteria
a person who cheats in gambling, esp at cards or in racing
verb -legs, -legging, -legged
(Brit) to act against the interests of a trade union, esp by refusing to join a strike
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 blackleg

"swindler," especially in equestrian events, 1771, from black (adj.) + leg (n.), but the exact signification is uncertain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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