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blackleg

[blak-leg] /ˈblækˌlɛg/
noun
1.
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.
2.
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.
3.
a swindler, especially in racing or gambling.
4.
British Informal. a strikebreaker; scab.
verb (used with object), blacklegged, blacklegging. British Informal.
5.
to replace (a worker) who is on strike.
6.
to refuse to support (a union, union workers, or a strike).
7.
to betray or deceive (a person or cause).
verb (used without object), blacklegged, blacklegging.
8.
British Informal. to return to work before a strike is settled.
Origin of blackleg
1715-1725
1715-25; black + leg; orig. of nonliteral senses unclear; cf. jackleg
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for blackleg
Historical Examples
  • That is to say, the assassin merely desires to remove one blackleg in order to make a place for some other blackleg.

    The American Credo George Jean Nathan
  • Knave he was,—cheat at cards, blackleg on the turf,—but forgery!

    What Will He Do With It, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • Her first husband—my poor boy, I am sorry for you—was a scoundrel, a thief, a blackleg.

    The Honorable Miss L. T. Meade
  • I released the blackleg, and he sat helpless in his chair, and glared at us.

    Great Porter Square, v. 2 Benjamin Leopold Farjeon
  • In returning to my boarding-house I was met by the blackleg pettifogger, who treated me with great coldness.

    Secret Band of Brothers Jonathan Harrington Green
  • Could I think of treading in the boots of a blackleg, albeit they never were his own?

    George Cruikshank's Omnibus George Cruikshank
  • So this gambler and blackleg was the gentlemanly Mr. Hawley, was he; well, what could be his little game?

    Keith of the Border Randall Parrish
  • Do you suppose any boy would be so mean as to be a blackleg?

    Pelle the Conqueror, Complete Martin Anderson Nexo
  • It wad be awfu' to hear folk cryin' 'blackleg' after yir faither, wadna' it, Mysie?

    The Underworld James C. Welsh
  • You and your master are cheats, he says, and your master is a blackleg besides, he says.

    The Inspector-General Nicolay Gogol
British Dictionary definitions for blackleg

blackleg

/ˈblæklɛɡ/
noun
1.
(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
2.
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
3.
(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
4.
a person who cheats in gambling, esp at cards or in racing
verb -legs, -legging, -legged
5.
(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
n.

"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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