The bard


1 [bahrd]
(formerly) a person who composed and recited epic or heroic poems, often while playing the harp, lyre, or the like.
one of an ancient Celtic order of composers and reciters of poetry.
any poet.
the bard, William Shakespeare.

1400–50; late Middle English < Celtic; compare Irish, Scots Gaelic bard, Welsh bardd, Breton barz < Indo-European *gwrs-do-s singer, akin to Albanian grisha (I) invited (to a wedding)

bardic, adjective
bardish, bardlike, adjective
bardship, noun Unabridged


William ("the Bard"; "the Bard of Avon") 1564–1616, English poet and dramatist.
Also, Shakspere, Shakespear.

pre-Shakespeare, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
bard1 (bɑːd)
1.  a.  (formerly) one of an ancient Celtic order of poets who recited verses about the exploits, often legendary, of their tribes
 b.  (in modern times) a poet who wins a verse competition at a Welsh eisteddfod
2.  archaic, literary or any poet, esp one who writes lyric or heroic verse or is of national importance
[C14: from Scottish Gaelic; related to Welsh bardd]

bard or barde2 (bɑːd)
1.  a piece of larding bacon or pork fat placed on game or lean meat during roasting to prevent drying out
2.  an ornamental caparison for a horse
3.  to place a bard on
[C15: from Old French barde, from Old Italian barda, from Arabic barda`ah packsaddle]
barde or barde2
[C15: from Old French barde, from Old Italian barda, from Arabic barda`ah packsaddle]

Bard (bɑːd)
the Bard an epithet of William Shakespeare

Shakespeare (ˈʃeɪkspɪə)
William. 1564--1616, English dramatist and poet. He was born and died at Stratford-upon-Avon but spent most of his life as an actor and playwright in London. His plays with approximate dates of composition are: Henry VI, Parts I--III (1590); Richard III (1592); The Comedy of Errors (1592); Titus Andronicus (1593); The Taming of the Shrew (1593); The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594); Love's Labour's Lost (1594); Romeo and Juliet (1594); Richard II (1595); A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595); King John (1596); The Merchant of Venice (1596); Henry IV, Parts I--II (1597); Much Ado about Nothing (1598); Henry V (1598); Julius Caesar (1599); As You Like It (1599); Twelfth Night (1599); Hamlet (1600); The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600); Troilus and Cressida (1601); All's Well that ends Well (1602); Measure for Measure (1604); Othello (1604); King Lear (1605); Macbeth (1605); Antony and Cleopatra (1606); Coriolanus (1607); Timon of Athens (1607); Pericles (1608); Cymbeline (1609); The Winter's Tale (1610); The Tempest (1611); and, possibly in collaboration with John Fletcher, Two Noble Kinsmen (1612) and Henry VIII (1612). His Sonnets, variously addressed to a fair young man and a dark lady, were published in 1609

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c., from Scottish, from O.Celt. bardos "poet, singer," from PIE base *gwer- "to lift up the voice, praise." In historical times, a term of contempt among the Scots (who considered them itinerant troublemakers), but one of great respect among the Welsh.
"All vagabundis, fulis, bardis, scudlaris, and siclike idill pepill, sall be brint on the cheek." [local Scottish ordinance, c.1500]
Subsequently idealized by Scott in the more ancient sense of "lyric poet, singer." Poetic use of the word in English is from Gk. bardos, L. bardus, both from Gaulish. Bardolatry "worship of Shakespeare (the 'Bard of Avon')" first recorded 1901.

surname recorded from 1248, and means "a spearman." This was a common type of English surname, e.g. Shakelance (1275), Shakeshaft (1332). Shake in the sense of "to brandish or flourish (a weapon)" is attested from late O.E.
Heo scæken on heore honden speren swiðe stronge." [Laymon, "Brut," c. 1205]
"Never a name in English nomenclature so simple or so certain in origin. It is exactly what it looks -- Shakespear." [Bardsley, "Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames," 1901] Nevertheless, speculation flourishes.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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