generic or mock-heroic name for a horse, late 14c., from O.Fr. Baiard
, name of the bay-colored magic steed given by Charlemagne to Renaud in the legends, from O.Fr. baiart
"bay-colored" (see bay
(4)). The name also was used attributively of gentlemen of courage and integrity, in this sense from Pierre du Terrail, seigneur de Bayard
(1473-1524), Fr. knight celebrated as Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche
; however the meaning deteriorated in later times till it came to denote blind recklessness and even actual blindness. The surname is perhaps in reference to hair color.