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Dotard
Posted: 21 September 2017 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]
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There’s a fine old word you don’t hear too often anymore, but the North Koreans have resurrected it to describe President Trump.

I recall that in one of Keith Laumer’s Retief stories, the governing body on one planet was referred to as the High Council of Honorable Dotards.  When you consider the etymological connection between “senile” and “senate,” it’s not so different.

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Posted: 22 September 2017 02:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I would not have thought it rare. A bit old fashioned but still quite current.

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Posted: 22 September 2017 02:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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We don’t use many agent nouns in -ard apart from coward and bastard, do we? Sluggard, dullard, drunkard, blackguard, dastard all sound archaic/affected to my ear; it’s hard to imagine anyone uttering them without a couple of ironic quotation marks.

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Posted: 22 September 2017 03:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Dullard, drunkard, braggard seem like normal words to me. They might not be used by everyone but I wouldn’t bat an eye if someone used them. Same with wizard,

Blackguard, niggard, dastard, sluggard, I would not expect to hear in normal modern speech, expect with ironic or mock-heraldic sentiment. Note, though, that blackguard does not use the suffix -ard: it is thought to be formed from black and guard.

Blinkard, stinkard are obsolete words that we should totally bring back.

(Quite irrelevant, but thanks to this thread I am now familiar with the word belgard, a loving look. )

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Posted: 22 September 2017 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Of the words mentioned so far, only belgard is marked as archaic by the OED, although some of the entries are old ones:

Frequency band 5: 1–10 times per million words
wizard
drunkard

Frequency band 4: 0.1–1 times
braggart (note this is typically spelled with a t)
blackguard (as previously noted, not the same suffix)

Frequency band 3: 0.01–0.1 times
dotard
niggard (niggardly is band 4)
dastard (dastardly is band 4)
dullard
sluggard

Frequency band 2: fewer than 0.01 times
blinkard
stinkard

No band given
belgard (also not the same suffix, from the Italian bel gardo)

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Posted: 22 September 2017 04:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’d meant to say something about bastard, which is an odd one. Of course it’s used quite a lot, but almost never in its literal meaning nowadays. As a literal bastard, I was rather surprised that a friend of mine said that he’d tried not to use the word in my presence after I mentioned this. I hadn’t noticed, and had never taken offence in any case.

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Posted: 22 September 2017 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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One would think dastard would have become the usage instead of bastard. It would certainly fit better.

[ Edited: 22 September 2017 06:14 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 22 September 2017 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dastardly, while still sounding old-fashioned, is, I think, considerably more common that dastard.

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Posted: 22 September 2017 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Laumer! What a wonderful writer he was. The Retief books and those with Lafayette O’Leary were particular favourites of mine when I was a young man. Sheckley was another. No dotards those two although they were unsurpassed in the depiction of such

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Posted: 22 September 2017 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Retard is another word, cautiously used today, because of its pejorative connotations associated with mental retardation. It is considered offensive hate speech when used in this sense.

The word’s original meaning, however, had no direct association with mental retardation, and was not used in that sense.

OED:

Etymology: < French retard delay (1629), retardation (of the movement of a body) (1752), retardation (of the tide) (P. S. de Laplace 1796, or earlier), delay in development (1808 with

reference to the onset of puberty) < retarder retard v. Compare Spanish retardo (16th cent.), Portuguese retardo (1832), Italian ritardo (a1492).
Sense 4 apparently shows a development within English from sense 1; compare retarded adj. 2, retardation n. 4, and also retardate n.

With in retard at sense 1c compare French en retard (early 18th cent. or earlier).

N.E.D. (1908) gives the pronunciation as (rĭtā·ɹd) /rɪˈtɑːd/.
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a.  The fact of being slowed down or delayed with respect to action, progress, or development; lateness, slowness; (also) a delay or slowing down.
b. in retard of: behind (a person or thing) in progress or development.
b.  in retard: in a delayed state, late; (also) belatedly.
c.  2. In full retard of the tide. = retardation n. 2b(b).
d.  Now usually called the age of the tide.

It was only in the late sixties that the word was introduced as slang usage in a pejorative and offensive sense.

b. colloq. and slang (frequently derogatory and offensive, esp. in recent use). A person (or occasionally thing) regarded as being mentally or physically deficient, stupid, or incompetent.

1968 P. Napear Jrnl. 21 Mar. in Brain Child (1970) iii. viii. 203 All third-graders talk that way! Current put-down is no longer ‘Stupid Head’ or ‘Stupid Ears’..now it’s ‘retard’. For everything uncooperative. Even an inanimate object.

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Posted: 22 September 2017 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Retard also does not use the -ard suffix. It derives from Latin tardus, meaning slow.

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Posted: 23 September 2017 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Nobody’s yet mentioned laggard, so here it is. I agree with OPT; though they may not be used all that frequently, I wouldn’t call those words obsolete, or turn a hair if one of them came up in conversation.  As for dotard: being one myself, I can’t say the word’s unfamiliar (goes back to the beginning of this thread, to remind himself what it’s about).

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Posted: 24 September 2017 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thomas Urquhart, in his translation of Gargantua and Pantagruel, uses words such as cackard, shittard, squittard, filthard, stinkard. I don’t know whether he made them up, or had them ready to hand. He certainly wields them spectacularly.

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Posted: 24 September 2017 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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lionello - 24 September 2017 09:00 AM

Thomas Urquhart, in his translation of Gargantua and Pantagruel, uses words such as cackard, shittard, squittard, filthard, stinkard. I don’t know whether he made them up, or had them ready to hand. He certainly wields them spectacularly.

Per the OED, stinkard predates Urquhart’s translation by some 50 years. The rest of those words are not found in the OED.

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Posted: 27 September 2017 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Nate Beeler (cartoonist appearing in “The Week” magazine) created a cartoon that carries this a bit further. Trump is sitting with two generals who are suggesting words that can be used as a counter attack to Un’s use of “dotard”. They are: poltroon, blatherskite, jackanapes, and slubberdegullion. http://theweek.com/cartoons/726916/political-cartoon-trump-kim-jong-un-north-korea-dotard-rocket-man

Hopefully this turns into a war of words instead of something else. Beeler’s choices are on-target.

[ Edited: 27 September 2017 06:22 AM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 27 September 2017 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Slubberdegullion, along with snolleygoster and scrofulous, are terms I often apply to our cats, to my wife’s mingled annoyance and amusement.

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