to blackguard
Posted: 12 May 2007 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  79
Joined  2007-04-14

I have consulted the entry ‘blackguard’ from the Big List and now would like to know how long ago ‘blackguard’ became a verb of good standing. I imagine how it became a verb is obvious--the villanous type that ‘blackguard’ describes would often employ vituperation.

[ Edited: 13 May 2007 07:19 AM by Thews McHeftigan ]
Posted: 12 May 2007 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  590
Joined  2007-02-22

From the OED: first citation

2. trans. To treat as a blackguard; to abuse or revile in scurrilous terms.
1823 COBBETT Weekly Reg. XLVIII. 642/2 You, in your quality of Saint, may claim a right to becall and to blackguard, as much as you please, any portion of the rest of mankind.

Posted: 12 May 2007 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  155
Joined  2007-01-28

It should be noted that the ordinary pronunciation is something like “blaggard”. I may have heard people saying “blaggard” without knowing what it meant, but it wasn’t until watching Eugene O’Neill’s “The Ice Man Cometh” (well into my twenties, I think starring the incomparable Lee Marvin) that I ever knew how it was pronounced, since I had that infrequent experience of actually having read something I was watching. It is virtually unknown Out West here other than in print I would say.

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