The Oxford English Dictionary, I should note, finds this “rogare” theory unlikely, and suggests “roger” may simply come from the name of a person, and thus have no connection to “rogue.” But if “roger” from a person’s name meant “beggar,” which the OED says it did, it could still have changed form and become “rogue.”

Incidentally, although many people assume that unruly elephants are the source of “rogue,” the term “rogue elephant” didn’t appear until the 19th century. “Rogue elephant” has also been used in a figurative sense since the 1920s to mean “a person or agency whose activities are antisocial and destructive” (OED) (“Only the rogue elephants among the public utility monopolies have occasionally run amuck,” 1981).

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

Leave a comment