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From Middle English dastard ‎(a dullard), most likely formed from *dast, a base derived from Old Norse dæstr ‎(exhausted, breathless) +‎ -ard. Compare Icelandic dasaður ‎(exhausted), Swedish dialectal däst ‎(weary), Middle Dutch dasaert, daasaardt ‎(a fool).



dastard ‎(plural dastards)

  1. A malicious coward; a dishonorable sneak.
    • Shakespeare
      You are all recreants and dastards, and delight to live in slavery to the nobility.


dastard ‎(comparative more dastard, superlative most dastard)

  1. meanly shrinking from danger, cowardly, dastardly
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 3, ch. IV, Happy
      Observe, too, that this is all a modern affair; belongs not to the old heroic times, but to these dastard new times. ‘Happiness our being’s end and aim’ is at bottom, if we will count well, not yet two centuries old in the world.


Derived terms[edit]


dastard ‎(third-person singular simple present dastards, present participle dastarding, simple past and past participle dastarded)

  1. To dastardize.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Dryden to this entry?)