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[bas-terd] /ˈbæs tərd/
a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate child.
  1. a vicious, despicable, or thoroughly disliked person:
    Some bastard slashed the tires on my car.
  2. a person, especially a man:
    The poor bastard broke his leg.
something irregular, inferior, spurious, or unusual.
illegitimate in birth.
spurious; not genuine; false:
The architecture was bastard Gothic.
of abnormal or irregular shape or size; of unusual make or proportions:
bastard quartz; bastard mahogany.
having the appearance of; resembling in some degree:
a bastard Michelangelo; bastard emeralds.
Printing. (of a character) not of the font in which it is used or found.
Origin of bastard
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French bastard, Medieval Latin bastardus (from 11th century), perhaps < Germanic (Ingvaeonic) *bāst-, presumed variant of *bōst- marriage + Old French -ard -ard, taken as signifying the offspring of a polygynous marriage to a woman of lower status, a pagan tradition not sanctioned by the church; compare Old Frisian bost marriage < Germanic *bandstu-, a noun derivative of Indo-European *bhendh- bind; the traditional explanation of Old French bastard as derivative of fils de bast “child of a packsaddle” is doubtful on chronological and geographical grounds
6. fake, imitation, imperfect, sham, irregular, phony. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for bastard


/ˈbɑːstəd; ˈbæs-/
(informal, offensive) an obnoxious or despicable person
(informal, often jocular) a person, esp a man: lucky bastard
(informal) something extremely difficult or unpleasant: that job is a real bastard
(old-fashioned or offensive) a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate baby, child, or adult
something irregular, abnormal, or inferior
a hybrid, esp an accidental or inferior one
adjective (prenominal)
(old-fashioned or offensive) illegitimate by birth
irregular, abnormal, or inferior in shape, size, or appearance
resembling a specified thing, but not actually being such: a bastard cedar
counterfeit; spurious
Derived Forms
bastardly, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French bastart, perhaps from bast in the phrase fils de bast son of the packsaddle (that is, of an unlawful and not the marriage bed), from Medieval Latin bastum packsaddle, of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bastard

"illegitimate child," early 13c., from Old French bastard (11c., Modern French bâtard), "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife," probably from fils de bast "packsaddle son," meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling), with pejorative ending -art (see -ard). Alternative possibly is that the word is from Proto-Germanic *banstiz "barn," equally suggestive of low origin.

Not always regarded as a stigma; the Conqueror is referred to in state documents as "William the Bastard." Figurative sense of "something not pure or genuine" is late 14c.; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. As an adjective from late 14c. Among the "bastard" words in Halliwell-Phillipps' "Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words" are avetrol, chance-bairn, by-blow, harecoppe, horcop, and gimbo ("a bastard's bastard").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for bastard



  1. A man one dislikes or disapproves of, esp a mean, dishonest, self-serving man; prick, son of a bitch (late 1600s+)
  2. Anything unpleasant or arduous; bitch: Ain't it a bastard the way it keeps raining (1930s+)
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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bastard in the Bible

In the Old Testament the rendering of the Hebrew word _mamzer'_, which means "polluted." In Deut. 23:2, it occurs in the ordinary sense of illegitimate offspring. In Zech. 9:6, the word is used in the sense of foreigner. From the history of Jephthah we learn that there were bastard offspring among the Jews (Judg. 11:1-7). In Heb. 12:8, the word (Gr. nothoi) is used in its ordinary sense, and denotes those who do not share the privileges of God's children.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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