-ard Also -art.
[Old French, from German -hard or -hart, hard or hardy, often appearing as the last element in personal names, such as Reginhart, Adalhart, or Bernhart.]
Such nouns that relate to people often have a dismissive sense: bastard, coward, drunkard, laggard, sluggard. These usually derive from adjectives, some of which are now archaic (coward, for example, comes from Old French couard, a tail, suggesting someone retreating with tail between legs).
Nouns sometimes suggest an object that has been formed as the result of an action: bollard, a post for mooring a ship, is from bole, the trunk of a tree; pollard, a tree trimmed to encourage new growth to feed stock, is from poll, to cut the top off something; standard, a flag mounted on a pole, is from Old French estendre, to extend, whose initial letter was lost in the shift to English. Other examples are placard, mallard, and buzzard.
Rarely, the suffix is spelled -art, as in braggart.
Some words with this ending come from other sources: custard (Old French crouste), hazard (originally the name of a dice game, the precursor of craps, from Persian zār or Turkish zar, dice), leopard (Greek leōn, lion, plus pardos, a male panther, the animal at first being thought a hybrid).
See also -ward.