Skip to main content
Select Source:

bastard

bastard, person born out of wedlock whose legal status is illegitimacy. In civil law countries and in about half the states of the United States, the union of the parents in marriage after birth makes the child legitimate. It is presumed that any child born to a married woman, or within competent time after termination of the marriage, is the child of her husband. If, however, it can be proved that it was physically impossible for the husband to have been the father (e.g., because of nonaccess to the wife), he may bring action to establish the illegitimacy of the child. Unlike civil law, which granted bastards certain rights, English common law treated them almost as persons outside the law and left their care to poorhouses. At common law bastards have no right to inherit property from their mother or father except by specific designation (e.g., in a will). In the mid-20th cent. their condition has been much improved by statute. Discrimination against children born out of wedlock is now subject to constitutional limitation under the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. For the status of children born to annulled marriages, see nullity of marriage; husband and wife. See also legitimation.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"bastard." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"bastard." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bastard

"bastard." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/bastard

bastard

bas·tard / ˈbastərd/ • n. 1. archaic or derog. a person born of parents not married to each other. 2. inf. an unpleasant or despicable person: he lied to me, the bastard! ∎  a person (used to suggest an emotion such as pity or envy): the poor bastard. ∎  a difficult or awkward thing, undertaking, or situation: it's been an absolute bastard of a week. • adj. 1. archaic or derog. born of parents not married to each other; illegitimate: a bastard child. 2. (of a thing) no longer in its pure or original form; debased: a bastard Darwinism. DERIVATIVES: bas·tar·dy n. (in sense 1 of the noun ). ORIGIN: Middle English: via Old French from medieval Latin bastardus.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"bastard." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"bastard." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bastard-0

"bastard." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bastard-0

bastard

bastard XIII. — OF. bastard (mod. bǎtard) :- medL. bastardus, of uncert. orig.
Hence bastardize XVI, bastardy XV (Cf. AN. bastardie XIII); see -IZE, -Y3.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"bastard." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"bastard." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bastard-1

"bastard." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bastard-1

bastard

bastardballad, salad •collard, Lollard, pollard •bicoloured (US bicolored), dullard, multicoloured (US multicolored), particoloured (US particolored), self-coloured (US self-colored), uncoloured (US uncolored), varicoloured (US varicolored), versicoloured (US versicolored) •enamored, Muhammad •ill-humoured (US ill-humored) •Seanad, unmannered •Leonard • synod • unhonoured •Bernard, gurnard •unhampered •leopard, shepherd •untempered •Angharad, Harrod •Herod • hundred • unanswered •uncensored • unsponsored •Blanchard • dastard • unchartered •bastard • unlettered • unsheltered •self-centred (US self-centered) • it'd •unfiltered • unregistered • unwatered •unaltered • dotard • untutored •uncluttered, unuttered •bustard, custard, mustard •method • unbothered • Harvard •unflavoured (US unflavored) •lily-livered, undelivered •undiscovered

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"bastard." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"bastard." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bastard

"bastard." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/bastard