From black + guard, thought to have referred originally to the scullions and lower menials of a court, or of a nobleman's household, who wore black liveries or blacked shoes and boots, or were often stained with soot.
blackguard (plural blackguards)
- (old-fashioned, usually used only of men) A scoundrel; an unprincipled contemptible person; an untrustworthy person.
- A man whose manners and sentiments are decidedly below those of his class deserves to be called a blackguard.
- 1899, Knut Hamsun, Hunger, translated by George Egerton, Part I, page 68
- Pawn another man's property for the sake of a meal, eat and drink one's self to perdition, brand one's soul with the first little sear, set the first black mark against one's honour, call one's self a blackguard to one's own face, and needs must cast one's eyes down before one's self? Never! never!
- 2006, Jan Freeman, 'Blaggards' of the year – Boston Globe
- "Arrr, keelhaul the blaggards!" wrote Ty Burr in the Globe last summer, pronouncing sentence on the malefactors who brought us the second "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.
- (archaic) A man who uses foul language in front of a woman, typically a woman of high standing in society.
- (scoundrel): scoundrel
- (transitive) To revile or abuse in scurrilous language.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Southey to this entry?)
- (intransitive) To act like a blackguard; to be a scoundrel.