Etymology
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Words related to -ard

dagger (n.)

"edged or pointed weapon for thrusting, shorter than a sword," late 14c. (mid-14c. in Anglo-Latin), apparently related to Old French dague "dagger," from Old Provençal or Italian daga, which are of uncertain origin; perhaps from Celtic, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *daca "Dacian knife," from the Roman province (see Dacian). The ending is possibly the faintly pejorative -ard suffix.

Attested earlier (1279) as a surname (Dagard, presumably "one who carried a dagger"). Also compare dogwood. Middle Dutch dagge, Danish daggert, German Degen also are from French. By 16c.-17c. swordsmen held it in the left hand to parry thrusts from the opponent's rapier. As "a reference mark in the form of a dagger," by 1706.

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dastard (n.)

mid-15c., a term of contempt for one who is lazy or dull; an English formation on a French model, probably from *dast, "dazed," past participle of dasen "to daze" (see daze (v.)) or the equivalent past participle in Old Norse + deprecatory suffix -ard. Meaning "one who shirks from danger, base coward" is late 15c.

dotard (n.)

late 14c., "imbecile, one who is in dotage or second childhood;" see dote (v.) + -ard. Sense of "one who dotes, one who is foolishly fond" (c. 1600) is now rare or obsolete. Other noun derivatives of dote, all in the sense "fool, simpleton" in Middle English were dotel (late 14c.), doterel (late 15c.), doti-poll (c. 1400; see doddypoll).

dullard (n.)

"stupid person, dunce, simpleton," mid-15c. (but early 13c. as a surname), from dull (adj.) + -ard.

gizzard (n.)

"stomach of a bird," late 14c., from Old French gisier "entrails, giblets (of a bird)" (13c., Modern French gésier), probably from Vulgar Latin *gicerium, a dissimilation of Latin gigeria (neuter plural) "cooked entrails of a fowl," a delicacy in ancient Rome, from PIE *yekwr- "liver" (see hepatitis). The unetymological -d was added 1500s (perhaps on analogy of -ard words). Later extended to other animals, and, in jocular use, to human beings (1660s).

laggard (adj.)
1702, "slow, sluggish," from lag (v.) + -ard. From 1757 as a noun, "one who lags, a shirker, loiterer." Related: Laggardly.
lizard (n.)

"an animal resembling a serpent, with legs added to it" [Johnson], late 14c., lusarde, from Anglo-French lusard, Old French laisarde "lizard" (Modern French lézard), from Latin lacertus (fem. lacerta) "lizard," a word of unknown origin. The ending in French and English is probably influenced by words in -ard.

It is identical to Latin lacertum "upper arm, muscular part of the arm, from the shoulder to the elbow" (opposed to bracchium), which suggests a pattern similar to that of Latin musculus "a muscle," literally "little mouse" (diminutive of mus "mouse"), so called because the shape and movement of the biceps were thought to resemble mice. It is unclear which Latin sense, the arm-muscle or the lizard, is original. De Vaan finds the words perhaps connected to Greek likertizein "to jump, dance," which Beekes finds likely from Pre-Greek.

Run fast, stand still. This, the lesson from lizards. [Ray Bradbury]
niggard (n.)

"mean or stingy person, miser," late 14c., nigard, nygard, nygart, also with a variant nigoun, nygun (c. 1300), a word of uncertain origin. The suffix suggests French origin (see -ard), but the root word is possibly from earlier nig "stingy" (c. 1300), which is perhaps from a Scandinavian source related to Old Norse *hniggw, related to hnøggr "stingy," from Proto-Germanic *khnauwjaz (source of Swedish njugg "close, careful," German genau "precise, exact"). Perhaps also related to Old English hneaw "stingy, niggardly," which did not survive in Middle English. A noun nig "niggardly person" is attested from c. 1300, but OED considers this unlikely to be the source of the longer word.

palliard (n.)

late 15c., "vagabond or beggar" (who sleeps on straw in barns), from French paillard, from Old French paillart "tramp, beggar, vagabond, dissolute person" (13c.), from paille "straw" (see pallet (n.1); also see -ard). Related: Palliardry. Palliardize was 17c. English for "to fornicate."

pollard (n.)

1540s, "de-horned animal," from poll (v.2) + -ard. In reference to trees cut back nearly to the trunk, from 1610s. Such trees form a dense head of spreading branches, which can be cut for basket-making, etc.

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