From Middle English bastard, bastarde, from Anglo-Norman bastard, from Frankish *bāst (probably via Medieval Latin bastardus; compare Middle Dutch bast) and derogatory suffix -ard, from Proto-Germanic *banstuz (compare West Frisian boask, boaste), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰendʰ-; or equivalent to bast + -ard. Cognate with French bâtard, West Frisian bastert, Dutch bastaard, German Bastard, Icelandic bastarður. Probably originally referred to a child from a polygynous marriage of heathen Germanic custom — a practice not sanctioned by the Christian churches. Related to boose.
Alternatively, the Old French form may originate from the term fils de bast, meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (medieval saddles often doubled as beds while traveling).
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