Blackguard Black"guard (bl[a^]g"g[aum]rd), n. [Black + guard.] 1. The scullions and lower menials of a court, or of a nobleman's household, who, in a removal from one residence to another, had charge of the kitchen utensils, and being smutted by them, were jocularly called the ``black guard''; also, the servants and hangers-on of an army. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

A lousy slave, that . . . rode with the black guard in the duke's carriage, 'mongst spits and dripping pans. --Webster (1612). [1913 Webster]

2. The criminals and vagrants or vagabonds of a town or community, collectively. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

3. A person of stained or low character, esp. one who uses scurrilous language, or treats others with foul abuse; a scoundrel; a rough. [1913 Webster]

A man whose manners and sentiments are decidedly below those of his class deserves to be called a blackguard. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

4. A vagrant; a bootblack; a gamin. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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  • blackguard — (n.) 1530s, scullion, kitchen knave. Perhaps once an actual military or guard unit; more likely originally a mock military reference to scullions and kitchen knaves of noble households, of black liveried personal guards, and of shoeblacks. By… …   Etymology dictionary

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  • blackguard — ► NOUN dated ▪ a man who behaves in a dishonourable or contemptible way. DERIVATIVES blackguardly adjective. ORIGIN originally denoting a body of servants, especially the menials in charge of kitchen utensils; the exact significance of «black» is …   English terms dictionary

  • blackguard — [blag′ərd, blag′ärd΄] n. [ BLACK + GUARD] 1. Historical the lowest servants of a large household, in charge of pots and pans 2. a) a person who uses abusive language b) scoundrel; villain adj. 1. vu …   English World dictionary

  • blackguard — UK [ˈblæɡə(r)d] / US [ˈblæɡərd] noun [countable] Word forms blackguard : singular blackguard plural blackguards old fashioned an immoral man who treats other people very badly …   English dictionary

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