Oh how often have knowledge and keen wits and understandings/ Been as deadly as brigands or ghouls to the wayfarer.
The Rome government dismissed these peasant rebels as mere "brigands."
c.1400, "lightly armed foot soldier," from Old French brigand (14c.), from Italian brigante "trooper, skirmisher, foot soldier," from brigare (see brigade). Sense of "one who lives by pillaging" is from early 15c., reflecting the lack of distinction between professional mercenary armies and armed, organized criminals.