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#165099 - 01/14/07 01:13 PM A female bastard  
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Hydra Offline
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I had cause to ask myself recently what a girl born out of wedlock was called, thinking that a "bastard" was always a "male". To my infinite surprise, the dictionary says: "a person born of parents not married to each other."

Did anyone else have this notion of bastard's masculinity?

#165100 - 01/14/07 01:49 PM Re: A female bastard  
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dalehileman Offline
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Hydra, thank you for that. It's not every day I learn something, esp if it contradicts my preconceptions


dalehileman
#165101 - 01/15/07 12:39 AM Re: A female bastard  
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TEd Remington Offline
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bastard is simply a precise legal term (as if there were any imprecise legal terms!) which has been stolen for use as a vulgarity.


TEd
#165102 - 01/15/07 12:55 AM Re: A female bastard  
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sjmaxq Offline
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Te Ika a Maui
As an insult, I'd invariably think it male. In the phrase 'bastard child", I think of it as gender neutral.

#165103 - 01/15/07 01:31 AM Re: A female bastard  
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of troy Offline
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i think, it has in part to do with inheritance

a girl, be she legitimate or illegitimate, usually inherits very little of her fathers estate.

if she was pretty enough, and publicly accepted/acknowledged by her father, she would have some political value, (and might be given a small, but bigger than the average poor girls) dowery. and she got the dowry before her father died (it was a sure thing!)usually.

for her, the stigma of illegitimatcy would have stung less.

but for a son, unless he was a royal bastard, and endowed with land, or money, he had no future.

he couldn't rise in the church (canon law does not permit bastards to become bishops) he couldn't rise economically (since he wasn't by law entitled to inherit any part of his fathers estate), he couldn't marry well (who wants a bastard as a SIL.)

being illegitimate had very different difficulties for men vs. women

#165104 - 01/16/07 01:42 PM Re: A female bastard  
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Jackie Offline
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Interesting, Hydra. I ran "girl born out of wedlock" through Onelook's Reverse Dictionary; bastard was the first entry, and illegitimate was the second. I didn't see any def. of bastard that mentions gender, so it does seem kind of odd that it has come to refer to males; but I think Helen's post about inheriting could well be the reason.

Here's what the Online Etymology Dictionary has to say:
bastard
1223, "illegitimate child," from O.Fr., "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. Alternate possibly is that the word is from P.Gmc. *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 is from 1552; use as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is attested from 1830. Bastardize "debase" is from 1587.

Online Etymology Dictionary

#165105 - 01/16/07 04:18 PM Re: A female bastard  
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BranShea Offline
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Yet,the life of Desiderius Erasmus shows that even bastard born could
become great one way or the other.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderius_Erasmus

For bastard girls or boys life 's start may have been harder than for others, but so what. Even true born children could have had the parents that crushed their possiblities. Or true born children once orphaned could have had lifes just as hard. It still counts.

Girls , the pretty ones (or shrewd ones) may have found husbands and I think all of us may have princely as well as illigitimate ancestors. Except for a few who've been hanging on to the straigth line and live by the false idea that they are different from the rest of homo sapiens.

Last edited by BranShea; 01/16/07 04:32 PM.
#165106 - 01/16/07 11:45 PM Re: A female bastard  
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Zed Offline
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I forget who originally said it but "Have you ever noticed that a man will desparately hide the fact that his father was a theif but brag that his great grandfather was a pirate?"

Mine was an army deserter who married a scullery maid. Ahh the good old days.

#165107 - 01/17/07 12:05 AM Re: A female bastard  
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themilum Offline
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Aladamnbama the most watered s...
Quote:

i think, it has in part to do with inheritance

a girl, be she legitimate or illegitimate, usually inherits very little of her fathers estate.

if she was pretty enough, and publicly accepted/acknowledged by her father, she would have some political value, (and might be given a small, but bigger than the average poor girls) dowery. and she got the dowry before her father died (it was a sure thing!)usually.

for her, the stigma of illegitimatcy would have stung less.

but for a son, unless he was a royal bastard, and endowed with land, or money, he had no future.

he couldn't rise in the church (canon law does not permit bastards to become bishops) he couldn't rise economically (since he wasn't by law entitled to inherit any part of his fathers estate), he couldn't marry well (who wants a bastard as a SIL.)

being illegitimate had very different difficulties for men vs. women




Bullshit, a bastard child has always been a boy child. At least here in the American South. Here we recognise that the female is the benevolent progenitor of all life that folows. They are sacred. Here, only boys are allowed to be bastards.

#165108 - 01/18/07 08:20 PM Re: A female bastard  
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ParkinT Offline
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ParkinT  Offline
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Orlando
Quote:

As an insult, I'd invariably think it male. In the phrase 'bastard child", I think of it as gender neutral.



Of course, 'bastard child' is redundant.

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