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From black +‎ leg.


blackleg (countable and uncountable, plural blacklegs)

  1. (countable) A person who takes the place of striking workers; a scab.
    Synonyms: scalie, strikebreaker
  2. (countable) A person who cheats in a game; a cheater.
    • 1836 December 31, Laurie Todd, “Letter from Laurie Todd: Christmas and New-Year’s-Day”, in New-York Mirror, a Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, volume XIV, number 27, New York, N.Y.: Scott & Co., printers, OCLC 1041857617, page 211, column 1:
      [H]ere, then, was a community of good taste and kind feeling, no sharpers, no black-legs, no wolves in sheep's clothing.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter II, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803, page 25:
      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.
  3. (countable, colloquial) A notorious gambler.
  4. (uncountable, agriculture, veterinary medicine) A fatal cattle disease caused by the soil-borne bacterium Clostridium chauvoei; symptomatic anthrax.

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blackleg (third-person singular simple present blacklegs, present participle blacklegging, simple past and past participle blacklegged)

  1. To continue working whilst fellow workers strike.
    • 1939, Philip George Chadwick, The Death Guard, page 154:
      Why was I there, munitioning, blacklegging, slaving as though my bread depended on it?