Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Illegitimacy
(4,133 words)

1. Definition

The opprobrium attached to illegitimacy (from Latin illegitimus, “unlawful”) in the early modern period (when it was used more often as an adjective, as in “illegitimate child,” “illegitimate birth”) finds expression in synonyms like bastard and euphemisms like love child). The German adjective unehelich (“out of wedlock”) is still usually treated as synonymous with illegitim (English illegitimate, French illégitime). The terms bastard and bastardy were also common in the…

Cite this page
Ehmer, Josef and Scholz-Löhnig, Cordula, “Illegitimacy”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 14 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_029239>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915



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