Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Illegitimacy'
- the status of being born to parents who were not married [syn: bastardy, bar sinister]
- unlawfulness by virtue of not being authorized by or in accordance with law [ant: legitimacy]
- Illegitimacy \Il`le*git"i*ma*cy\, n.
The state of being illegitimate. --Blackstone.
Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Illegitimacy'
At common law, legitimacy is the status of a child who is born to parents who are legally married to one another, or who is born shortly after the parents' marriage ends through divorce. In both canon and civil law, the offspring of putative marriages have been considered legitimate. For the opposite of legitimacy, the term illegitimate has been used about a child born to a woman and a man not married to one another, though in many societies today such terminology has become obsolete even in law, and abandoned in common communication in favor of less abrasive words such as extramarital or love child.
Legitimacy was formerly of great consequence, in that only legitimate children could inherit their fathers' estates. In the United States, in the early 1970s, a series of Supreme Court decisions abolished most, if not all, of the common-law disabilities of bastardy, as being violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[See more about Illegitimacy at Dictionary 3.0 Encyclopedia]