Posted by Woodchuck on August 23, 2002
In Reply to: Blackguards posted by James Briggs on August 20, 2002
: : : : : : My hubby has related several times that he remembers old movies, shown as kids' classics on TV when he was a kid, in which the term "blackards" was used in the dialogue. At least, this is what he says it sounded like. He said it was used to refer to bad characters, like pirates. I realise that this is not much of a phrase, but if it is another way of writing "black hearts" (which is our suspicion), then it is more of a two word slang term. A term for nefarious people.
: : : : : : Can anyone shed any light? Is my DH correct about this?
: : : : : : - Patty
: : : : : Maybe the following? :
: : : : : Main Entry: 1black·guard
: : : : : Pronunciation: 'bla-g&rd, -"gärd; 'blak-"gärd
: : : : : Function: noun
: : : : : Date: 1535
: : : : : 1 obsolete : the kitchen servants of a household
: : : : : 2 a : a rude or unscrupulous person b : a person who uses foul or abusive language
: : : : : - black·guard·ism /-g&r-"di-z&m, -"gär-/ noun
: : : : : - black·guard·ly /-g&rd-lE, -"gärd-/ adjective or adverb
: : : : I'm sure Bruce is right. "Blackguard" is exactly the kind of insult that's thrown around in old melodramas, and it sounds like "blackard."
: : :
: : : So then it's spelled "blackguard" is it? - Patty
: : Exactly.
: Here's what I've found out. The only origin I found was in my imprint of the 1811 dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue; it says: "A shabby, mean fellow; a term said to be derived from a number of dirty, tattered roguish boys who attended at the Horse Guards and Parade in St James' Park, to black the boots and shoes of the soldiers, or to do any other dirty offices. These, from their constant attendance at about the time of guard mounting, were nick-named black-guards.
I've also seen this spelt "blaggard" and more frequently "blaggart" (possibly from confusion with braggart?), so you are in good company, Patty.