blackleg

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

blackleg (countable and uncountable, plural blacklegs)

  1. (uncountable) Fatal cattle disease caused by the soil-borne bacteria Clostridium chauvoei; symptomatic anthrax
  2. (countable) A person who takes the place of striking workers. A scab.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 22, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      In the autumn there was a row at some cement works about the unskilled labour men. A union had just been started for them and all but a few joined. One of these blacklegs was laid for by a picket and knocked out of time.
  3. (countable) A person who cheats in a game, a cheater.
    • 1908, W. B. M. Ferguson, Zollenstein, ch.2:
      I had never defrauded a man of a farthing, nor called him knave behind his back. But now the last rag that covered my nakedness had been torn from me. I was branded a blackleg, card-sharper, and murderer.
  4. (colloquial) A notorious gambler.

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Adjective[edit]

blackleg (not comparable)

  1. Relating to a scab worker.
    The blackleg workers entered under cover of darkness.

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