Definition of bastard in English:

bastard

noun

  • 1informal An unpleasant or despicable person.

    ‘he lied to me, the bastard!’
    • ‘But although her father hadn't been bad to her, he'd been a complete bastard to her mother, and she hated him for that.’
    • ‘Those little bastards who criticise me don't understand.’
    • ‘Okay that was the dumbest speculation I've ever had and you bastards let me say it like some sort of idiot.’
    • ‘I hate being helpless when those rich powerful bastards beat mother.’
    • ‘To me they were all dogs, scum, idiots, bastards… well, you get the point.’
    • ‘All these years I comforted myself by telling myself that I was too good for the irresponsible man, and that I didn't need the good-for-nothing bastard.’
    • ‘As last time, we were all a little fatter, balder and/or greyer, apart from the bastards who hadn't changed at all.’
    • ‘I need to stop trying to change people who like being rat bastards.’
    • ‘So we like to judge our actions as those of good people dealing with ‘the real world’, instead of as natural bastards doing what bastards do naturally.’
    • ‘I am a bastard, incorrigible, ungentlemanly and a beast.’
    • ‘He's a bastard, a brute, an offense to human decency.’
    • ‘Names have been changed to protect the bastard.’
    • ‘I'd be willing to bet that he's been planning this for years… what a lowlife bastard.’
    • ‘She fell out with the ungrateful bastards of that particular branch of my mother's extended family, and we didn't visit that bunch this year.’
    • ‘The bastards won't change their behaviour until their business goes under because all the good workers have gone to good employers.’
    • ‘Mostly, though, they're bastards but one of them is your bastard.’
    • ‘Had he refused to cooperate, she would have labelled him ‘a bastard, a fascist, an idiot,’ as was her wont.’
    • ‘Soon I'll be allowed to dislike art without old bastards nodding wisely.’
    • ‘Even if you were a reporter like those irritating bastards who hound me every second of every day, you wouldn't know!’
    • ‘Those wretched bastards must be pleased with their work.’
    scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer
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    1. 1.1British with adjective A person of a specified kind.
      ‘he was a lucky bastard’
      • ‘I'm desperate to see whether Yoichi finally gets a lucky break - poor little bastard.’
      • ‘You know Kashiro, unlike you I am a poor weak bastard.’
      • ‘And I thought, I don't want to bother this poor bastard, but I have to get in to save me boy!’
      • ‘Even Leo's not half bad in it despite the fact the poor squeaky bastard never has a chance against DDL.’
      • ‘He glanced back one more time to his friends in time to catch Alan mouth the words, ‘Lucky bastard.’’
      • ‘I'm sorry, man, you must be a lonely poor bastard.’
      • ‘It's not going to be my fault when some poor, watermarked bastard gets dragged off to Guantanamo Bay.’
      • ‘Some people get to go home today - lucky bastards.’
      • ‘I'm just one of the lucky bastards who got funding.’
      • ‘The poor little bastard's still out there somewhere.’
      • ‘He laid down his card and agreed, ‘Lucky bastard.’’
      • ‘But, in the end, he settled for the position of Admiral, and watched every other lucky bastard as they boarded, what should have been, his ship.’
      • ‘If that's all you have to worry about, Tom, then you are one lucky bastard.’
      • ‘I was only trying to be friendly, the poor little bastards must've been starving if nobody was feeding them.’
      • ‘Then Stan sent me this, probably the most unfortunate of all, poor bastard!’
      • ‘And in lots of ways I've been a lucky, jammy bastard.’
      person, human being, human, being, mortal, soul, creature, thing
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    2. 1.2British A difficult or awkward undertaking, situation, or device.
      ‘it's been a bastard of a week’
      • ‘It's a bastard of a fine line to walk with Wainwright being more self aware than your average flamboyant drama queen opera fan.’
      • ‘A shorter trip than usual this week - it's hard to travel with a bastard of a headcold.’
      • ‘If you want my opinion, it's a bastard of a game - swift, bold and beautiful.’
      • ‘But hey, don't give up on me, Jo. It's nearly Christmas, it's been a bastard of a year, and I'd love to talk to you.’
      • ‘And for three skinny fellows, they make an absolute bastard of a guitar racket.’
      • ‘I've just come down with a bastard of a cold, got me thinking along these lines.’
      • ‘After taking ages to get ready, and a bastard of a commute, we were running late.’
      • ‘Though, when I do want to make an effort, I face an absolute bastard of a hurdle: my hair.’
      • ‘Avant garde/underground short films are an absolute bastard to get hold of.’
      • ‘Of course, next time I post I'll probably be sitting here nursing a bastard of a hangover and a misanthropic grudge against the universe as per usual, so make the most of it.’
      • ‘I've read about 100 pages these last two days and gotten a bastard of a headache for my troubles.’
      • ‘This was an absolute bastard (the descent was also a bit hairy due to a strong sidewind).’
      • ‘It was a difficult bastard to empty and move, as it's a ‘waveless’ type and the waddy stuff inside retains heaps of water and makes it heavy.’
      • ‘The filling is a bastard of a mix of crunchy water chestnuts, baby corn, cilantro and ground peanuts.’
      • ‘Golf is a bastard of a game.’
      • ‘After all my rabbiting on about the foolishness of those plebs who choose to spurn the way of the Proper Bow Tie, I've had a bastard of a time for the last couple of days figuring out how the heck you actually tie one.’
  • 2archaic, derogatory A person born of parents not married to each other.

    • ‘He talked to him and convinced him that this wedding should take place as soon as possible because his bride does not want their son to be born a bastard.’
    • ‘I am merely a bastard, born to one of his secondary wives.’
    • ‘For one, a bastard is a child conceived out of wedlock, which you weren't, and for second, I'm sure your parents had every intention of conceiving you.’
    • ‘Besides, my marriage means my son is a legitimate child, not a bastard as these rumor mongers would have you believe.’
    • ‘To his warped mind it appeared that his natural father had robbed him of his rightful inheritance by having him born a bastard, and this whole affair was no more than the result of his terrible revenge!’
    illegitimate child, child born out of wedlock
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adjective

  • 1attributive (of a thing) no longer in its pure or original form; debased.

    ‘a bastard Darwinism’
    • ‘Along the way, however, the reader gets a crash course in early comic strips, and it is within the literary tradition of this bastard medium that he defiantly sets his work.’
    • ‘And speaking of which, after a fashion, experiments with new routes into work took me past Chariots, which looks from the outside like the bastard lovechild of a Greek restaurant and an auto repair shop.’
    • ‘English is a bastard language borne out primarily of the mixture of languages of people who successfully invaded the The British Isles (of whom there were several prior to 1066).’
    • ‘‘People don't see comedy as an art form, they see it as the bastard son of storytelling,’ he says after we've reached the cafe and ordered the coffee.’
    • ‘Kudos to them as this cd has an appeal many don't but lets face it, they're still rubbing along in a bastard genre, they're just a bit better than most at it.’
    • ‘I'm guessing that the bug I swallowed this morning was a hybrid of sorts, a bastard child conceived of a drunken cricket and a desperate ladybug.’
    • ‘And even though English is the ultimate in bastard languages already, we don't like it so much when cultural globalization works in the opposite direction.’
    hybrid, alloyed
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    1. 1.1 (of a handwriting script or typeface) showing a mixture of different styles.
      • ‘It’s a bastard typeface, each character stands alone as an independent angular structure.’
      • ‘The Bastard Secretary Hand represents a variation of the Bastard hand, a reform of the court hand, developed in the early 14th century in an attempt to reform the by-now deteriorated standard court hand.’
      • ‘The brand new Bastard-family is a modern caps-only display typeface with OpenType features.’
      • ‘A typeface named Bastard is typical of his often irreverent attitude to the industry of advertising and design.’
      • ‘Text occupies a single column in a bastard typeface, while the title-page uses a mixture of bastard and roman type (the latter for Latin text), and of black and red lettering.’
  • 2archaic, derogatory attributive Born of parents not married to each other; illegitimate.

    ‘a bastard child’
    • ‘After all, it would be disastrous if the people ever found out that she had a bastard child born out of wedlock.’
    • ‘The closest thing to nobility found in our ranks is the bastard son of a petty knight (the captain).’
    • ‘While the first movie does have more of an adult theme to it (uh, she birthed a bastard child from a married family man), the last two lend themselves to more of a family audience.’
    • ‘Albert plays Jack, a man who must face up to the fact that he is the bastard child of a rock star.’
    • ‘An insolent stranger makes an unexpected appearance in Tara's house claiming to be her illegitimate nephew (the bastard son of Padma).’
    illegitimate, born out of wedlock
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Usage

In the past the word bastard was the standard term in both legal and non-legal 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

Phrases

  • (as) happy (or lucky, miserable, etc.) as a bastard on Father's Day

    • informal Very unhappy (or unlucky, miserable, etc.)

      ‘he looked as happy as a bastard on Father's Day’
      • ‘I saw him standing all dressed up with nowhere to go looking as happy as a bastard on Father's Day.’
      • ‘Old Charlie was as confused as a bastard on Father's Day.’
      • ‘The once-proud structure became as unstable as a bastard on Father's Day.’
      • ‘If you and I stay right here we'll be happy as a bastard on Father's Day, mate.’
      • ‘You might say he was as puzzled as a bastard on Father's Day.’
      • ‘I'm already as miserable as a bastard on Father's Day.’
      • ‘"About as witty as a bastard on Father's Day," Oscar said with fierce humor.’
      • ‘There I was, 'on my tod', and lonelier than a bastard on Father's Day!’
      • ‘You'd find yourself as lonely as a bastard on Father's Day.’
      • ‘"I've got about as much luck as a bastard on Father's Day", laments a punter.’
  • keep the bastards honest

    • informal Ensure that politicians behave fairly and openly.

      ‘we're going to need someone to keep the bastards honest’
      • ‘He has tried to paint himself as the party that keeps the bastards honest.’
      • ‘The candidates will be viewed as 'the infighting bastards', rather than candidates that can 'keep the bastards honest'.’
      • ‘He warned politicians on Wednesday, "I'm not here to keep the bastards honest; I'm here to get rid of the bastards."’
      • ‘We keep the bastards honest and we have the mechanisms to keep ourselves honest too.’
      • ‘The best parliaments happen when independents are keeping the bastards honest.’

Origin

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).

Pronunciation

bastard

/ˈbɑːstəd//ˈbastəd/