What the horrible word ‘Bastard’really means

Today I received my first ever review from someone who bought my book- The Fortune Seekers.

Tim Gurung, an author of a number of unique books, including ‘Redemption’ and ‘Afterlife’,  wrote the following review. It has encouraged me, and also made me aware of the power of words.

Here’s his review. 

This book is very nicely written, has black & white photographs to embolden …, August 28, 2016By Tim I gurung

This review is from: The Fortune Seekers Dan and Charlotte: Book One of a Series (Kindle Edition)

This book is not only a historical novel but also a history by itself and everyone who has roots from the British side must read this book. The book is very nicely written, has black & white photographs to embolden the story, and make you feel like you were traveling with them. I also learned a little piece of history, e.g. why it has anything to do with the word ‘bastards’ and I am grateful to the writer for clearing that as well. While reading this book, I couldn’t help but felt like I was watching those old Western movies when people were moving around and living a life of gypsies. It is definitely a very good book, easy but interesting reading and the highly recommended. The book is quite long though, so, prepare yourself for a long and enjoyable ride. I am not sure if it was based on true story but I genuinely felt that way.
The  Fortune Seekers.  Available.    http://Xlibris.com/ Booksales    And    http://Amazon.com/GlennisBrowne

I am grateful to Tim for highlighting a number of points. In particular the slang word ‘Bastard’ (or is it now a swearing word?)

 My generation consider it to be offensive, as the meaning is cruel, heartless and undeserved by those who it applies to.

The dictionary states the following-

  • bastard

ˈbɑːstəd,ˈbast-/

noun

1.

archaicderogatory- a person born of parents not married to each other.

  • synonyms: illegitimate child, child born out of wedlock

2. informal – an unpleasant or despicable person.

  • “he lied to me, the bastard!”

synonyms: scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer.

noun

1. a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate child.

2.Slang.

  • a vicious, despicable, or thoroughly disliked person:
  • Some bastard slashed the tires on my car.
  • a person, especially a man:The poor bastard broke his leg.

3.something irregular, inferior, spurious, or unusual.

4.bastard culverin.

adjective

5.illegitimate in birth.

6.spurious; not genuine; false: The architecture was bastard Gothic.

7. of abnormal or irregular shape or size; of unusual make or proportions: bastard quartz; bastard mahogany.

8.having the appearance of; resembling in some degree: a bastard Michelangelo; bastard emeralds.

9.Printing. (of a character) not of the font in which it is used or found.

noun
1. a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate child.

2.Slang.

a vicious, despicable, or thoroughly disliked person:

Some bastard slashed the tires on my car.

a person, especially a man: The poor bastard broke his leg.

3. something irregular, inferior, spurious, or unusual.

4. bastard culverin.

adjective

5. illegitimate in birth.

6.spurious; not genuine; false:

The architecture was bastard Gothic.

7. of abnormal or irregular shape or size; of unusual make or proportions: bastard quartz; bastard mahogany.

8. having the appearance of; resembling in some degree: a bastard Michelangelo; bastard emeralds.

9. Printing. (of a character) not of the font in which it is used or found.

Origin of bastard

Middle EnglishAnglo-FrenchMedieval LatinGermanic

1250-13001250-1300; 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
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com

6. fake, imitation, imperfect, sham, irregular, phony.

Dictionary.com Unabridged

Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.

British Dictionary definitions for bastard Expand

bastard

/ˈbɑːstəd; ˈbæs-/

noun

1.(informal, offensive) an obnoxious or despicable person

2.(informal, often jocular) a person, esp a man: lucky bastard

3.(informal) something extremely difficult or unpleasant: that job is a real bastard

4.(old-fashioned or offensive) a person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate baby, child, or adult

5.something irregular, abnormal, or inferior

6. a hybrid, esp an accidental or inferior one

adjective (prenominal)

7.(old-fashioned or offensive) illegitimate by birth

8.irregular, abnormal, or inferior in shape, size, or appearance

9.resembling a specified thing, but not actually being such: a bastard cedar

10.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

Word Origin and History for bastard 

n.

“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
Slang definitions & phrases for bastard

bastard

noun
A man one dislikes or disapproves of, esp a mean, dishonest, self-serving man; prick, son of a bitch (late 1600s+)

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.

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.

If you read this far, you will have learnt, as I have, the many uses, derivations, of the word.

Despite all the dictionary sources, I still find the use of this word to be unnecessary. It is not encouraging, uplifting, supporting or helpful in any way.

And as a word to describe the circumstances of a persons birth, it is horrible. Fortunately, today this meaning is no longer relevant. No longer are children accused in the same way.
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