Definition of bastard in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbastərd/ /ˈbæstərd/

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  • 1derogatory An unpleasant or despicable person.

    • ‘he lied to me, the bastard!’
    scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer
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    1. 1.1informal with adjective A person of a specified kind.
      • ‘he was a lucky bastard’
      • ‘the poor bastard’
      person, human being, human, being, mortal, soul, creature, thing
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    2. 1.2British informal A difficult or awkward undertaking, situation, or device.
      • ‘it's been a bastard of a week’
  • 2archaic, derogatory A person born of parents not married to each other.

    illegitimate child, child born out of wedlock
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  • 1(of a thing) no longer in its pure or original form; debased.

    • ‘a bastard Darwinism’
    hybrid, alloyed
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    1. 1.1(of a handwriting script or typeface) showing a mixture of different styles.
  • 2archaic, derogatory Born of parents not married to each other; illegitimate.

    • ‘a bastard child’
    illegitimate, born out of wedlock
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In the past the word bastard was the standard term in both legal and nonlegal use for ‘an illegitimate child’. Today, however, it has little importance as a legal term and is retained in this older sense only as a term of abuse


Middle English via Old French from medieval Latin bastardus, probably from bastum ‘packsaddle’; compare with Old French fils de bast, ‘packsaddle son’ (i.e. the son of a mule driver who uses a packsaddle for a pillow and is gone by morning).