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According to Victor Hugo, British soldiers convicted of crimes had to wear their red coats inside out so that the black lining showed; what two-syllable neologism resulted?




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Answer: blackguard

According to the COD, the word blackguard - which means "scoundrel" - was a term used to describe menials.

[Mootguy: I'm pretty sure that Hugo's is a false etymology, I haven't been able to find any reputable source that backs it up. If anyone has any info, please pass it along and I'll attach it to the answer.]

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