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.