adj., n. (gen. sg. as adj.)

‘i.e. excessive, arrogant’

(Modern English angard)


Apparently derived from early Fr angarde ‘vanguard’ (< late Lat antegard(i)a), the difficulty comes in explaining the development in sense ME uses of the word. One can posit a trajectory of meaning from something like ‘forward position, height’ to ‘(unjustified) forwardness, arrogance’ (thus Brett 1913: 160–1 (followed by TGD, GDS, Emerson 1922: 373–4) and implied by MED). But influence on the meaning or shape or both of ME angard has also been sought from a series of other (perhaps) related (or confused) ME words, in particular ME ouergart ‘arrogance’, which is found alongside and in variation with forms like augard and ougard (see esp. Brett 1913: 160–2), and which has often been explained by reference to ON. The most frequently cited prospective ON comparanda are: (1) OIcel ágjarn ‘covetous, greedy; ambitious; pugnacious, belligerent, eager to fight’ (so OED2 and Brett 1913: 160), i.e. a formation on OIcel gjarn ‘eager, willing’ (PGmc *gerna-; cp. OE georn, Go -gaírns, OFris gerne, jerne, OHG, OS gern); (2) Icel gort ‘bragging’ (also suggested by OED2 and Brett 1913: 160, 162, as well as tentatively by Kullnick 14 as the direct source of ME angard);  and most plausibly (3) OIcel gera, gør(v)a ‘to make, do’ or the related adj. OIcel gǫrr, neut. gǫr-t (as for gart) (thus OED3 s.v. overgart (n.), with reference to overgart (adj.); see further Dance 2003: 370). Further claims for ON input (e.g. McGee 321, 572–9) are more tenuous and perhaps unnecessary.

PGmc Ancestor

Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

ágjarn ‘covetous, greedy; ambitious; pugnacious, belligerent, eager to fight’; gort ‘bragging’; gera, gør(v)a ‘to make, do’
(ONP ágjarn (adj.); gera (1) (vb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Icel gjarn, Sw dial gärnt; Far ger-, Icel ger, ODan gør, Dan gør-, OSw gor, gör

OE Cognate

cp. georn 'desirous, eager (etc.)'; OE gierwan (Angl *gerwan) 'to prepare (etc.)'

Phonological and morphological markers

[absence of palatalization of */ɡ/] (possibly diagnostic)

Summary category



MED records a handful of citations (in a variety of forms, inc. <angarte, ongart>), mainly in N and E (and mostly alliterative) texts.

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Gaw 681

For alliterative collocations with pride similar to that in Gaw, and on the word’s meaning, see PS 681n.


MED angard (n. and adj.) , OED angard (n.) , HTOED , Dance angardez, de Vries gera; gjarn; gǫrr, Mag. gera (1); ger (3); gjarn; gorta, Bj-L. gjerne, Heid. garwa-; gerna-, Orel *ʒarwaz; *ʒarwjan-; *ʒernaz, Kroonen *garwa-; *garwjan-; *gerna-, AEW gearu; georn; gierwan, FEW (Germanismes) *wardōn