Bastard, Oxford English Dictionary



Oxford English Dictionary

a person of mixed breed; a Griqua. S. Afr.

a mongrel, an animal of inferior breed.

Bastard:  a person of mixed breed (a Griqua. S. Afr. 1814, does not mean that he is illegitimate, but merely that he is of mixed breed); a mongrel, an animal of inferior breed ( 1607, the lesser sort of [elephants] which they call bastards); mongrel, hybrid, of inferior breed (1641 Hynde J. Bruen vii. 27 To beget and bring forth mules, a bastard brood); of or pertaining to a person of mixed breed (1792, those Hottentots, bastard Hottentots, whose race has been intermixed with the slaves brought from the East Indies); a kind of cloth of inferior or mixed quality, or unusual make or size; not genuine, counterfeit, spurious, debased, adulterated, corrupt (1639, with thy bastard bullion thou hast barter'd for wares of price; 1583, he pronounceth the Epistle of James to be a bastard); unauthorized (1558, who soeuer receiueth of a woman, office or authoritie, are adulterous and bastard officers before God); having the appearance of, somewhat resembling, an inferior or less kind of ... not identical with the species which legitimately bear the name (1602, foure more [mouths of the Nile], which they themselues call bastard mouthes), (1640, though she prov'd bastard-bellyed, I will owne her), (1594, the lower part of the ribs are commonly called false ribbes or bastard ribbes).

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Under their definition of bastard as "One begotten and born out of wedlock", OED has the following bizarre and inexplicible example from 1450 of the usage of this word:

"Thei wolde neuer haue no bastarde to theire kynge"

This cannot be correct.  For what reason would it be presumed that the English in 1450 would have a different view of marriage than Israelites a number of centuries before them?  Here's the marriage law that they undoubtedly followed:

Exodus 22:1-7 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.

If a man had sex with a virgin, they were married.  How then could a king be "born out of wedlock" in 1450?  If a man had sex with a virgin, her father refused to let her marry him, and later it was discovered that she was impregnated, then certainly the father would reconsider his decision and they'd be married.  This sentence is a reference to Israelite law which required that a king be of their brethren, and not a nikro:

Deu 17:15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

This has nothing to do with marriage or illegitimacy or wedlock--this has only to do with preserving the holy seed through a requirement that the king be of the same race as his subjects.