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From lag +‎ -ard.



laggard (comparative more laggard, superlative most laggard)

  1. Lagging behind; taking more time than the others in a group.
    • 1752, Francis Gentleman and Ben Jonson, Sejanus, A Tragedy, Act 5, Scene 1, page 54–55:
      But come let's wing our Steps with utmost Speed,
      The swiftest Haste is laggard to the Deed.
    • 1912, E. Pauline Johnson, “The Song My Paddle Sings” in Flint and Feather, [1]
      O! drowsy wind of the drowsy west,
      Sleep, sleep,
      By your mountain steep,
      Or down where the prairie grasses sweep!
      Now fold in slumber your laggard wings,
      For soft is the song my paddle sings.
    • 1931, William Faulkner, Sanctuary, Vintage 1993, p. 66:
      Between blinks Tommy saw Temple in the path, her body slender and motionless for a moment as though waiting for some laggard part to catch up.
    • 2016, Emma Gilleece, “Take the spat out of spatial,” Village, 30 November, 2016,[2]
      A particularly robust intervention will be required if Ireland’s disbalance between Dublin’s primacy and its laggard provincial cities, is to be addressed.
  2. (animal husbandry) Not growing as quickly as the rest of the flock or herd.
    The laggard broilers are euthanized and incinerated.



laggard (plural laggards)

  1. One who lags behind; one who takes more time than is necessary or than the others in a group.
    • 1733, William Havard, Scanderbeg: A Tragedy, London: J. Watts, Act II, Scene 4, p. 17,[3]
      Blushing I look upon my poor Resolves,
      A Laggard in the Race, and faintly striving
      To follow Excellence that soars so high.
    • 1840, James Fenimore Cooper, The Pathfinder, or The Inland Sea, Chapter 20,[4]
      “Late come, late served, Mabel,” said her uncle, between mouthfuls of broiled salmon; [] “late come, late served; it is a good rule, and keeps laggards up to their work.” ¶ “I am no laggard, Uncle; for I have been stirring nearly an hour, and exploring our island.”
    • 1891, Rudyard Kipling, Letters of Marque, New York & Boston: H.M. Caldwell, 1899, Chapter 12, p. 141,[5]
      The State line, with the comparatively new branch to the Pachbadra salt-pits, pays handsomely, and is exactly suited to the needs of its users. True, there is a certain haziness as to the hour of starting, but this allows laggards more time, and fills the packed carriages to overflowing.
    • 1901, H. G. Wells, The First Men in the Moon, Chapter 8,[6]
      It rose as one watched it; if one looked away from it for a minute and then back, its outline had changed; it thrust out blunt congested branches until in a little time it rose a coralline shape of many feet in height. Compared with such a growth the terrestrial puff-ball, which will sometimes swell a foot in diameter in a single night, would be a hopeless laggard.
    • 1977, “What Ever Became of ‘Geniuses’?” Time, 19 December, 1977,[7]
      It was 72 years ago when a French psychologist named Alfred Binet first devised a test that attempted to measure a child's intelligence. Seeking a way to distinguish truly retarded students from laggards with hidden ability, Binet developed a series of exercises involving completion of pictures and the assembling of objects, as well as problems in math, vocabulary and reasoning.
    • 2010, Rita Trichur, “Expanded international trade key to driving innovation in Ontario: report,” Toronto Star, 21 September, 2010,[8]
      Canada and Ontario must bolster international trade with both the European Union and emerging economies like China in order shake our reputation as innovation laggards, says a new report.
    • 2020 January 1, James Dean, “House price recovery on track in US”, in The Times, number 73,044, page 32:
      Residential property prices in the United States climbed at their fastest pace in five months in October, suggesting that the housing market, a laggard of the economy, is gaining steam.