One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A man who behaves in a dishonourable or contemptible way.
- ‘Magnum, watch those blackguards until the police arrive.’
- ‘Somebody obviously decided that they were going to stop me from talking and it's the action of a blackguard and a rogue.’
- ‘Earlier in the week, we had watched another character have his reputation tarnished by association with political blackguards.’
- ‘It appears in many of these cases that the streets have been handed over to a small number of thugs and blackguards who give all young people a bad name.’
- ‘It is obvious that those blackguards did something horrendous to you.’
Abuse or disparage (someone) scurrilously.‘you know what sort she is, yet you blackguard me when I tell the truth about her’
- ‘He has attempted to blackguard the hunger strikers, calling for an investigation into reports that they have coerced their children into joining the fast.’
- ‘He blackguarded the team out of the match, there's no two ways about it.’
- ‘This is an attempt to intimidate and blackguard the prison officers and this is an attempt that will fail.’
- ‘If a carpenter can be blackguarded as a drug addict, gambler and traitor, his wife arrested and ‘a number of key terrorist suspects’ rounded up and arrested on little or no evidence, what about other cases?’
- ‘‘They're blackguarding us and it will continue unless we sort it out and we will,’ he warned.’
Early 16th century (originally as two words): from black + guard. The term originally denoted a body of attendants or servants, especially the menials who had charge of kitchen utensils, but the exact significance of the epithet ‘black’ is uncertain. The sense ‘scoundrel, villain’ dates from the mid 18th century, and was formerly considered highly offensive.
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