Jon Snow: “What’s my name?
Samwell Tarly: “Jon Snow.
Jon Snow: “And why is my surname ‘Snow’?
Samwell Tarly: “Because you’re a bastard from the North.
bas·tard(s) (ˈbastərd) noun, (archaic derogatory) a person born of parents not married to each other, synonyms: illegitimate child, child born out of wedlock;
dated: love child, by-blow; natural child/son/daughter.

The immense popularity of Game of Thrones has put the repugnant term back into the modern lexicon. Not surprising given the very real threat illegitimate spawn posed to medieval power brokers.

All major religions in the Seven Kingdoms – the Faith of the Seven, followers of the Old Gods of the Forest, and followers of the Drowned God – attach very negative social stigmas to bastardy. ¹

Despite it’s use in the medieval-based series, the term can hardly be described as ‘archaic’. It’s use was overtaken as a very heavy-handed insult of the same magnitude as a swear word.²
Not surprisingly, hate groups grab hold of it and sling it at their enemies, so now you have acronyms like ACAB (All Cops are Bastards) being bounced about the Internet.
In the late 80s the online publication, Bastard Nation, grabbed onto the term to rage against the government in favour of adoptee rights.



² informal: an unpleasant or despicable person.

synonyms: scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, weasel, snake, snake in the grass, miscreant, good-for-nothing, reprobate;
informal lowlife, creep, nogoodnik, scamp, scalawag, jerk, beast, rat, ratfink, louse, swine, dog, skunk, heel; slimeball, son of a bitch, SOB, scumbag, scumbucket, scuzzball, scuzzbag, dirtbag, sleazeball, sleazebag;
dated hound, cad;
archaic blackguard, knave, varlet, whoreson


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