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How about some etymology? I'd like to know how a bastard file got to be called that, if it's indeed the same word as the other senses.

Although dictionary etymologies are virtually nonexistent, a plausible origin can be extracted from historical usage. "Bastard file" in current usage is a file of coarse cut (as opposed to a "finishing" file. However, its technically precise definition is "a file one cut finer than a "coarse file." Files are classed as "coarse," "second cut" and "smooth," from coarsest to finest. Thus, a "bastard file" is a cut in between a "coarse" and a "second cut." The word "bastard" functions here in its meaning as "irregular." So, a "bastard file" is a file that is neither "coarse" nor "second cut." - from All that I can add to that is that indicates that Webster's cited the usage in 1913. 18:39, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Is it the same as the etymology of bastardsword (which I'd never heard before), and is that the same again as for the slang adjectival usage I remember from the 1980s (also as a phrase [going, etc] "like a bastard") where the word/phrase is merely an intensifier, ie it's a very coarse file, very heavy sword, etc.? (No time to add this usage now, but I'll come back.)

Also, excuse me if my edit to the pronounciation section is wrong due to inexperience, but it looks as if the RobotGMwikt bot has added something in error.Enginear 20:02, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

The bastard sword is like the bastard file; it's in between sizes between a sword always used with one hand and a sword always used with two hands, hence it is also called a "hand-and-a-half" sword. 18:24, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

It wasn't RobotGMwikt but rather the anonymous IP's edit before that edit. Thanks for cleaning it up though. --Connel MacKenzie T C 18:06, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

The definition for the word "bastard" says "born to unmarried parents". Does this mean that birth rather than the point of conception is the determining factor or can people have sex before marriage and the female gets pregnant and then they get married and the baby after it is born is not a bastard or do the have to be married to have sex first? Benighted 03:34, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

I believe "born out of wedlock" is a synonym and that definitely states it is the time of birth. RJFJR 13:54, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I do believe that the big issue was being born outside of a marriage, which is what led to the idea shotgun weddings. The idea being the father of the bride ensuring, by any means necessary, that the groom was available to give a name to his daughter's child. I have no research on this, but it's what I had always heard. -Atelaes λάλει ἐμοί 16:55, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
Bastardy, back when it really mattered, was first and foremost a legal status, such that the details depended on time and place; but yes, that's the usual definition. You may be interested in the articles “Legitimacy (law)” and “Bastard (Law of England and Wales)” in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (one of our sister projects). —RuakhTALK 17:16, 2 September 2008 (UTC)


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Rfv-sense: Expression of dismay. I've never heard anyone use this except as an expression of anger directed at a person. I hope the translations didn't rely on the definition. DCDuring TALK 14:26, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Not sure how attestable it is, but I and people I know use it. Like "I left my keys at home, bastard". Works in the same way as "fuck" or "shit". Any other North England (or anyone) back me up? Mglovesfun (talk) 14:28, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
It ought to be attestable in fictional dialog. Actually, the sense I added of anger directed at a person would not merit a separate mention: many pejorative nouns could be used as an expression of anger directed at a person. The principal value of such a sense would be to prevent confusion such as I suffered. Having some real usage would be a help in the same way. Also regional context. DCDuring TALK 14:40, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
I'd claim widespread use, but I wouldn't (personally) be bothered if it failed RFV as it's easy to guess what it means when used in context. Note, I speedy deleted the other interjection sense as vocative use of the noun (cf. wanker, cunt, idiot, dickhead). If someone adds it back (feel free to) I'll RFV it, but I'm backing my instincts here. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:07, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
It's hard to find cites that can't be interpreted as calling someone — present or otherwise — a bastard. I've added the two cites from google books:"oh bastard I" that seem to be valid, but would like some input before I put too much work looking for a third cite . . . —RuakhTALK 16:07, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
The 2001 citation looks adequate, the 2006 citation is excellent. The latter gave me the idea to look for phrases along the lines of "oh, bastard, it's" (time to go), but I couldn't find anything (not even anything spurious — it seems no-one has written those three words in that order before). I also tried "oh, bastard, the", "oh, bastard, now", and "oh, bastard, we"... — Beobach 07:11, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Might this be useful? Or this? It occurred to me to try strings of profanity. — Beobach 07:17, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Struck as passed. — Beobach 23:36, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Personal opinion only, we've tagged this as rare. I don't think it's rare, just difficult to cite because all of the other citations for other senses of the word. Mglovesfun (talk) 22:39, 31 December 2010 (UTC)


Briefly, I'll just say that:

  • French would not have deleted the n- in Gmc *banstiz 'barn', that it is far too distant semantically, and that the form was otherwise borrowed into French and Occitan dialects as the name for a type of basket. The full inherited cognate set for *banstiz is: MDu banste 'barn', LG dial. Banse 'cattle shed', (Jutland) Bende 'cow stall', Goth bansts 'barn', ON báss 'cow stall', Dan baas, Sw bås, Eng boose 'cattle shed', OFris boes-, bōs-, NFris bōs, EFris buus; Du boes, dialectal (Zeeland) boest, MLG bos, LG Boos are borrowings from Frisian, with the telltale a > o and compensatory lengthening characteristic of Anglo-Frisian.
  • And fils de bast/bas is not attested until the 13th c. and only in the South, whereas "bastard" is attested much earlier and even appears in Medieval Latin without a pejorative sense; the -ard suffix points to a northern French origin.
  • Finally, in Franco-Provencal there appear forms such as bâsco, bâshar, bâscalin which point to a form similar to a sideform (boask) of West Frisian boaste "marriage", and if nothing else, are distinct from the reflex of "bast" which is .

Flibjib8 14:24, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

I have a problem tying this word so closely with bast. The lengthening of the vowel in Old Frisian being the cause. Leasnam 20:22, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
That makes sense, although I think the protoform would be perhaps *banđstō, based on Old Frisian. Flibjib8 19:34, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Do you have a reference for that form? If so, then good. Otherwise, the only sourced forms in PGmc I know of are *ban(d)stuz and *bun(d)stuz. Leasnam 19:44, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
It comes from Vladimir Orel (2003) Handbk of Germ. Etym.. —This unsigned comment was added by Flibjib8 (talkcontribs) at 00:08, 9 January 2011 (UTC).
I am leery of this reconstructed form. I know of no PGmc suffix *-stō. I am however familiar with PGmc *-stuz, as well as with Frisian tendency to level rare declensions into more normal ones, which is what I believe has occurred with bōst (f). Leasnam 09:05, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

RFV 2[edit]

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Rfv-sense for a longsword and for a variant of the Gothic typeset. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but who ever heard of a bastard sword or a bastard font? I don't know enough about either to find the right keywords to search under, either. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 20:38, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

bastard — "sword" sense
  • google books:"bastard sword" gives plenty of hits in this sense — both in (historical) contexts and in (fantasy) contexts — but our def implies that "bastard" is used alone, as a noun, with this sense, and I'm really not convinced of that. —RuakhTALK 20:58, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
  • So we make it an adjective? Or mark it as attributive only? --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 21:05, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
  • "Swung his bastard sword" finds lots of distinct Google hits, "Swung his bastard" on its own (i.e. excluding "swung his bastard sword") doesn't find even a single use. I think it's very unlikely that it's ever used on its own. Smurrayinchester (talk) 10:17, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
  • bastard sword is defined in Dungeons & Dragons as a sword that can be wielded by one or two hands. It is longer and thicker than a longsword and shorter and lighter than a two-handed sword or claymore. If I need to dig up cites on this, I'm sure I can, given time. --Jacecar (talk) 00:25, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Moved to bastard sword, since everyone seems to agree that it's called a "bastard sword", not just a "bastard". - -sche (discuss) 04:31, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
bastard — "Gothic script" sense
Should be bastarda. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 21:33, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Moved. Thanks, Ungoliant. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:35, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Labelling as 'vulgar'[edit]

@-sche, Robbie SWE, TheDoubleManiac The 'vulgar' label was added and removed a couple of times recently. I would agree with TheDoubleManiac that, at least in the UK, it is still vulgar. It may be very slightly less abrasive than other words but you wouldn't say it in a professional situation, in front of your grandparents or the older generation, in a church/mosque/synagogue, at the doctor's etc. Kaixinguo~enwiktionary (talk) 08:26, 29 April 2018 (UTC)

@Kaixinguo~enwiktionary, according to the category "English vulgarities", vulgar words are terms "[...]whose tone (rather than the meaning) is offensive to polite company." When I lived in the UK, people of all ages, social statuses, cultures and genders used it, even one of my uni professors, so I'm having a hard time accepting this so called "vulgar" nuance. --Robbie SWE (talk) 15:46, 30 April 2018 (UTC)

Bastard species[edit]

@Chuck Entz, -sche: IMO, all of the vernacular names of species, genera, families, etc. should be in derived terms with only the most common ones also kept as usage examples. I took a run at making the entry for bastard gemsbok reflect the etymology, though I didn't yet select suitable comparative photographs for gemsbok and bast gemsbok. DCDuring (talk) 17:34, 29 May 2018 (UTC)

See User:DCDuring/Bastard species for list culled from bastard * at OneLook Dictionary Search. DCDuring (talk) 21:51, 29 May 2018 (UTC)
Useful. Btw, if you want to see a cool-looking fruit, do a (Google/whatever) image search for "bastard hogberry". Sadly, I can't find any picture with a licence that would let us use it. - -sche (discuss) 01:12, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
false is also used this way; should it have a dedicated sense, or do we consider e.g. "false sandalwood" to be using a more general sense of "false"? - -sche (discuss) 01:59, 30 May 2018 (UTC)
The other common taxonomic vernacular adjectives are worth some thought too. Common, vulgar, and true immediately come to mind. I'll have to look into this, first to see what some lemmings do.
Someone asked my why a black locust is called a black locust. WP had an explanation for locust that seemed plausible, but I just conjectured that black means "darker than honey locust" (a tree of similar size, with similar leaves and thorns and overlapping range, but not in the same family). This kind of thing is not unusual. DCDuring (talk) 01:05, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
When we speak of a black man, something similar (though more complicated) is involved. A black cherry isn't black in any sense we have, nor is a black birch or a black currant.
Black would seem to require a definition like "(in compounds) Distinguished by being or having one or more features that are dark."
black rhino, black cherry, blackberry.
Bastard seems to often mean the same as false, but also, less commonly, seems to refer to organisms thought to be hybrids, mutants, or sports.
  • We definitely need to find a suitable image of w:bastard hogberry to put into Commons so we can use it. DCDuring (talk) 01:25, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
    This image sadly does not have a suitable license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). At least we can link to the Tropicos page for Margarita nobilis. DCDuring (talk) 01:38, 31 May 2018 (UTC)