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A child born to unmarried parents.

Term used to describe a child born to unmarried parents. Also variously known as an extra-nuptial or extra-marital child, a base-born child, a bastard (child) or a natural child. In modern times, the expression love-child has been used

This description not only carried connotations of a breach of accepted social norms but also affected the legal status of the child. In general, an illegitimate was unable to inherit his or her father's property. Even if a specific bequest was made, legitimate heirs could seek to have that overturned.

In situations where the community would be expected to provide for an illegitimate child, it was common for efforts to be made to require the mother to name the father and then to force the (alleged) father to acknowledge paternity and accept financial responsibility