Be*ghard", Be*guard" (?), n. [F. b'egard, b'eguard; cf. G. beghard, LL. Beghardus, Begihardus, Begardus. Prob. from the root of beguine + -ard or -hard. See Beguine.] Eccl. Hist.
One of an association of religious laymen living in imitation of the Beguines. They arose in the thirteenth century, were afterward subjected to much persecution, and were suppressed by Innocent X. in 1650. Called also Beguins.
© Webster 1913.