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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)

  1. A scoundrel; an unprincipled contemptible person; an untrustworthy person.
    • Macaulay
      A man whose manners and sentiments are decidedly below those of his class deserves to be called a blackguard.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Usually, only used to refer to a male person.
  • Blackguard may also refer to a man who uses foul language in front of a woman, typically a woman of high standing in society.


See also[edit]


blackguard ‎(third-person singular simple present blackguards, present participle blackguarding, simple past and past participle blackguarded)

  1. To revile or abuse in scurrilous language.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Southey to this entry?)

External links[edit]