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- (adjective, noun)
- Not conforming to known principles, or established or accepted rules or standards.
- 1791 (date written), Mary Wollstonecraft, chapter 2, in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, 1st American edition, Boston, Mass.: […] Peter Edes for Thomas and Andrews, […], published 1792, →OCLC:
- […] it may be impossible to convince them that the illegitimate power which they obtain, by degrading themselves, is a curse […]
- 1927, J. B. S. Haldane, “Possible Worlds”, in Possible Worlds and Other Essays, London: Chatto and Windus:
- The so-called interstellar space […] has not the properties of ordinary space. It will not conduct sound, nor can a human being move through it. It is therefore illegitimate to measure it in miles.
- 2009, J. M. Coetzee, “Martin”, in Summertime, New York: Viking, page 209:
- Our attitude was that, to put it briefly, our presence there [in South Africa] was legal but illegitimate. We had an abstract right to be there, a birthright, but the basis of that right was fraudulent. Our presence was grounded in a crime, namely colonial conquest, perpetuated by apartheid.
- Not in accordance with the law.
- Not sanctioned by marriage.
- 1783, Edward Gibbon, chapter 8, in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, volume 1, London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell, page 317:
- If we credit the scandal of the former [i.e. his enemies], Artaxerxes sprang from the illegitimate commerce of a tanner’s wife with a common soldier.
- 1916, chapter 6, in Abraham Brill, transl., Leonardo da Vinci: A Psychosexual Study of an Infantile Reminiscence, New York: Moffat, Yard, page 118:
- His illegitimate birth deprived him of the influence of a father until perhaps his fifth year […]
- Born to unmarried parents.
- c. 1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene vii]:
- I am a bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valour, in every thing illegitimate.
- 1838, Boz [pseudonym; Charles Dickens], chapter 51, in Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress. […], volumes (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Richard Bentley, […], →OCLC:
- ‘This child,’ said Mr. Brownlow, drawing Oliver to him, and laying his hand upon his head, ‘is your half-brother; the illegitimate son of your father […] ’
- (dated) Having a child or children with a person to whom one is not married.
- 1876, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], chapter 27, in Daniel Deronda, volumes (please specify |volume=I to IV), Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, →OCLC:
- She had only to collect her memories, which proved to her that “anybody” regarded the illegitimate children as more rightfully to be looked shy on and deprived of social advantages than illegitimate fathers.
- Not correctly deduced.
- 1658, Kenelm Digby, A Late Discourse […] Touching the Cure of Wounds by the Powder of Sympathy, London: R. Lownes and T. Davies, page 75:
- […] in natural things we must have recourse […] to experience. And all reasoning that is not supported so, ought to be repudiated, or at least suspected to be illegitimate.
- Not authorized by good usage; not genuine.
- Synonym: spurious
- an illegitimate word
- (botany) Involving the fertilization of pistils by stamens not of their own length, in heterogonously dimorphic and trimorphic flowers.
- illegitimate union; illegitimate fertilization
- 1877, Charles Darwin, chapter 1, in The Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the Same Species:
- […] the legitimate unions between the two forms of the above nine species of Primula are much more fertile than the illegitimate unions; although in the latter case pollen was always taken from a distinct plant of the same form.
- See also Thesaurus:illegitimate
not conforming to known principles, or established or accepted rules or standards
against the law
born to unmarried parents
illegitimate (plural illegitimates)
person born to unmarried parents
- (transitive) To make illegitimate.