English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

With the following definition:

To lower in quality or character.

Synonyms found:

corrupt, pervert, subvert, demoralize, demoralise, debauch, debase, profane, vitiate, deprave, misdirect

However all of those have a very "intentionally evil" connotation. I would say more along the lines of "messed up", but it needs to portray that it's somewhat intentional, just not with the evil slant.

Intentionally done, but unintentionally wrong, is what I'm looking for.

Perfect Example:

My nick name on here is Aequitarum Custos, which is a "bastardized" Latin, it should have been Aequitatis Custos (the correct way to say what I wanted).

I intentionally created my nick like that, but had no intention to make it wrong.

Reason for desiring a synonym is due to the perceived obscenity of the word bastard by some people.

share|improve this question
Can you give an example of the sort of sentence/context you’d like to use it in? – PLL Mar 9 '11 at 16:06
@PLL example given – Brett Allen Mar 9 '11 at 16:20
I'd argue that you should use "bastardised", because it's the correct word; those who are (wrongly) offended will just have to learn. – slim Dec 19 '11 at 11:38
Daniel Webster stated in a letter just before the time of his death that the worst thing that he had ever done in his life was to do this to the English language. That the reason he did it was because he needed the money. What he did was to make all nouns verbs, adjectives and pronouns through modification. Modification is change, change is motion, motion is... – user70974 Apr 3 '14 at 15:29

11 Answers 11

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Most words which are synonymous with bastardized will probably have negative connotations, I would imagine. Several that have been suggested (adulterate, debase, contaminated, pollute) all sound negative to me. The reason is that most of these things are not desirable things. Nobody wants contamination or pollution or something that's been reduced to its base form.

Thus I'd suggest other words that don't imply so much destruction:

  • twisted
  • broken
  • malformed
  • defective
  • unusual (as a euphemism)
share|improve this answer
Malformed fits perfectly in my example, and those other suggestions are very good for different situations. Thanks! – Brett Allen Mar 9 '11 at 19:20

Adulterate might be useful. It still sounds dirty, but not as evil as contaminate and whatnot.

By far the best term for the specific situation of your username is Canis Latinicus. A less specific and fairly neutrally descriptive term for bastardized language is simply broken.

If you'd like to lampshade the fact that you're bowdlerizing the term "bastardized" in order to placate the squeamish, I would suggest illegitimized.

share|improve this answer
That will work great for physical composition, and honestly would work better than bastardize in that situation. – Brett Allen Mar 9 '11 at 16:17

You might consider dilute or mitigate.

share|improve this answer

I like 'borked' or 'borken' but I'm not sure if that passes the bar or not :)

share|improve this answer

You fudged it: "to make or adjust in a false or clumsy way".

share|improve this answer

I don't think debase, contaminate and pollute necessarily express negative intent.

share|improve this answer
"He contaminated/polluted the water/food/air", is general usage of those words, a very negative connotation because of it. Debase now that I think about it is relatively neutral, but it applies more towards currency, morals and people, rather than something you can do to a random object, so doesn't really fit my needs unfortunately. +1 for pointing out debase. – Brett Allen Mar 9 '11 at 16:06
I think you can say “accidental contamination”, which makes it clear it does not have inherent negative intent implications... But, there is no accounting for taste – F'x Mar 9 '11 at 16:18

botched, but that comes along with a connotation of carelessness.

share|improve this answer


"My nick name on here is Aequitarum Custos, which is a "misused" Latin"

share|improve this answer

This particular example is dog-Latin (not to be confused with pig-Latin). The word has a long history (17th century if not earlier), and means 'Latin words, but without the correct grammar or agreement'; seems ideal.

share|improve this answer

Dysmorphic I suppose. Though a basically a medical term exists with very narrow definition.

share|improve this answer

If your intention is to say that something follows on from something else and, though changed significantly, relies upon the previous work without any suggestion of negativity, I'd suggest "adapted."

Does, this have the connotation you are looking for? It kind of depends on the context and audience.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.