Tuesday, September 05, 2006


While I technically wrote the previous word-related post this weekend, while I was off the grid and letting my mind wander, the part about the word “cuckold” struck me. I remember more than a year ago noticing that words ending in “ard” or something like it often refer to people of unenviable status. Somehow, I neglected to ever post this.

Think about it:
  • drunkard
  • bastard
  • sluggard
  • dullard
  • braggart
The standout would seem to be “wizard,” though I’m sure that word has its own negative associations, especially when people were less Gandalf-friendly and more burn-the-pagans. I piped these few into Google and found this page, which makes mention of quite a few others.
  • blinkard (literally, someone who blinks too much)
  • dastard (which I’m more used to hearing as “dastardly”)
  • dotard (a senile person, in the same sense we use “doddery”)
  • golliard (an obsolete word that refers to a certain class of rowdy students, related to “glutton”)
  • laggard (guy who lags)
  • niggard (more common today as “niggardly,” and not nearly as awful as it sounds)
  • stinkard (you know, like your mom)
The suffix comes from French, where it denoted someone who does a certain thing too much. Oddly, the French got it from a Germanic word that also gave modern English the word “hard.” So literally, the word was used then in a way not unlike we say “hardcore” to mean that something is particularly intense. The suffix only works this way, however, when used referring to people, although I think it would be fun to research the etymology on “buzzard,” “mustard,” “collard greens,” “orchard,” and “leotard,” the last of which I think we can all agree is still pretty unenviable.

Oh, and of course “retard” would be the notable exception.


  1. Dear friends,

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  2. Anonymous9:39 PM

    Drew, you're a goddamn blinkard and i've known it for years. What would your poor mother say?

  3. Anonymous9:48 PM

    your so wrong for making fun of people who cant defend themselves. if you think its funny think about how youd feel if you knew you were making cry a person who doesnt have anything against you. i hope you can understand that your words hurt and you should think twice should about what you say about people who cant defent themselves. your not even using the right word they use for them.

  4. I had no idea any one would be so defensive towards wizards. My bad.