bastard

noun
bas·​tard | \ ˈba-stərd How to pronounce bastard (audio) \
plural bastards

Definition of bastard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 usually offensive : a child born to parents who are not married to each other

Note: This sense of bastard has not always been offensive. In fact, it was a relatively neutral term until as recently as the late 20th century, when it began to take on its offensive status. This shift coincided with a positive change in societal attitudes towards unmarried parents and a lessening of the social stigma of having children outside of marriage. The word bastard is still used relatively neutrally in historical references and historical fiction, but is usually considered offensive when used in present-day contexts to describe a child born to parents not married to each other.

2 : something that is spurious (see spurious sense 3a), irregular, inferior, or of questionable origin The … residence is a bastard of the architectural era which followed the building of the Imperial Hotel …— Hugh Byas
3a : an offensive or disagreeable person used as a generalized term of abuse Then they made him an officer and right away he became the biggest bastard you ever saw.— Thomas Heggen
b : man, fellow … the nicest thing an Aussie can call you is a bloody fine bastard.— Wilson Hicks

bastard

adjective

Definition of bastard (Entry 2 of 2)

1 usually offensive : born to parents who are not married to each other

Note: This sense of bastard has not always been offensive. In fact, it was a relatively neutral term until as recently as the late 20th century, when it began to take on its offensive status. This shift coincided with a positive change in societal attitudes towards unmarried parents and a lessening of the social stigma of having children outside of marriage. The word bastard is still used relatively neutrally in historical references and historical fiction, but is usually considered offensive when used in present-day contexts to describe a child born to parents not married to each other.

2 : of mixed or ill-conceived origin known for coining bastard words
3 : of abnormal shape or irregular size bastard sizes of doors and windows …— R. E. Flanders
4 : of a kind similar to but inferior to or less typical than some standard bastard marble
5 : lacking genuineness or authority : false … the indiscriminate use of Greek letters by bastard groups not connected with the higher learning.— Charles W. Ferguson

Other Words from bastard

Noun

bastardly adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for bastard

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of bastard in a Sentence

Noun Congratulations on getting the job, you lucky bastard! His wife left him, the poor bastard. Life can be a real bastard sometimes. Adjective Alexander Hamilton appears to have been bothered by the fact that he was a bastard child. a bastard knockoff of a far superior thriller

First Known Use of bastard

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for bastard

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old Frisian bost marriage, Old English bindan to bind

Adjective

Middle English, from attributive use of bastard bastard entry 1

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Time Traveler for bastard

Time Traveler

The first known use of bastard was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near bastard

Bastaard

bastard

bastarda

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Cite this Entry

“Bastard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bastard. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for bastard

bastard

noun
bas·​tard | \ ˈbas-tərd How to pronounce bastard (audio) \

Legal Definition of bastard

: an illegitimate child

Note: The word bastard is no longer used in legal contexts.

Other Words from bastard

bastardy \ ˈbas-​tər-​dē How to pronounce bastard (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on bastard

Nglish: Translation of bastard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bastard for Arabic Speakers

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