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This is a Wednesday’s Wonderful Words post, in which I chose a word, well-know or otherwise, and discuss why I think it’s so wonderful.

Dastardly

[dæstərdli]

adjective

1. Mean and cowardly; meanly base; sneaking: a dastardly act.

Example Sentences

All that tinkering comes in handy when the trio discovers an evil scientist’s dastardly plan to rob a museum.

To conceal the dastardly and inhuman of tense, the body was hidden in a thick place among the leaves and brush.

There’s nothing evil or dastardly about insurers doing this.

Etymology

1560s, “showing despicable cowardice,” originally “dull,” from M.E. dastard.

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Dastardly is such a British word.

I don’t mean British in the actual sense of tea with milk, complaining about the weather regardless of what it’s like and saying anything to avoid a silence, lest it should be awkward. I mean British in the way that old films and Americans think of British people, and maybe how some were, in Oxford and Cambridge, before the wars and class levelling.

“What ho, he foiled my game plan for croquet! How dastardly of the chap”.

It’s the ability to pronounce both [a] and [ah] in an RP accent that does it. Even with my becoming, ever-so-sexy Scottish accent I find myself saying it as if I were a regular in Buckingham Palace and drink tea with Stephen Fry every Sunday afternoon.

Dastardly!

And to make it even better, we have these guys:

Dastardly and Muttley.

Dastardly and Muttley being Darned Dastardly.

He personifies his name (not evil, just a little bit crafty and conniving. Which is, incidentally, another amazing word) and his dog personifies it in his laugh. That’s pretty awesome.

However, at the end of the day, who uses a word like dastardly? Unless you’re very upper class or joking, you’ll get made fun of.

Doesn’t stop it being a cool word though.

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