bar sinister

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bar sinister

1. obsolete In heraldry, a mark that runs from the left shoulder of the bearer down to the right, often used to denote a noble who is of illegitimate birth. "Sinister" comes from a Latin word meaning "on the left." The young duke, born out of wedlock to the king, wore a bar sinister upon his shield.
2. By extension, the status, stigma, or implication of illegitimate birth. The boy grew up in comfort, but his other brothers never let him forget his bar sinister.
See also: bar

bar sinister

A coat of arms ornamentation that is supposedly a sign of illegitimacy. The phrase, which has appeared in the works of novelists Laurence Sterne and Sir Walter Scott, implies a “bar” that prevents the person from a legitimate claim or inheritance, while “sinister” (the heraldic term for a coat of arms' left side) sounds menacing. Although the idea of a bar sinister on an illegitimate person's shield entered popular speech more than two centuries ago, that's not heraldically correct. A patterned border around a shield was the British heraldry way of indicating bastardy, and if you want to be even more technical, a thin diagonal line that does not touch the edges of the shield is a “baton,” not a “bar.” However, people rarely check with the College of Arms before using words and phrases.
See also: bar
References in classic literature ?
Between the disasters that had befallen his master and his master's house, and the Frenchman, Mugambi saw a sinister relationship, which kept him from recalling to Werper's attention the identity which the latter evidently failed to recognize.
Very well," replied Tarzan, for he knew that he could trust them to carry out any sinister threat that Paulvitch had made, and there was a bare chance that by conceding their demands he might save the boy.
Neither spoke, for both felt instinctively that murder was being done in that room, and Tarzan was confident that Rokoff had had no intention that his confederate should go that far--he felt that the man's aims were deeper than that--deeper and even more sinister than brutal, cold-blooded murder.
Young File was the workman-like footman; Old File was his father; Mill and Screw were the two sinister artisans.
At the same instant the sinister cry of the Bete du bon Dieu arrested me in my ascent.
The dusk of this narrow lane took on a sinister tint from the dark, frail little figure, its back to the wall, and speaking with a weak, self- confident voice.
The resisting power of numbers, the unattackable stolidity of a great multitude, was the haunting fear of his sinister loneliness.
He walked with the nerveless gait of a tramp going on, still going on, indifferent to rain or sun in a sinister detachment from the aspects of sky and earth.
Picture to yourself the pilot fish with the shark, the jackal with the lion--anything that is insignificant in companionship with what is formidable: not only formidable, Watson, but sinister--in the highest degree sinister.
23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Mysterious found footage reveals a series of gruesome murders in Sinister 2, the chilling sequel to the sleeper horror hit available on Digital HD on December 22, 2015, and on Blu-ray[sup.
7 (-) The Bad Education Movie 8 (-) Vacation 9 (5) Trainwreck 10 (8) Minions TOP TEN FILMS 1 (1) Inside Out (pictured) 2 (-) Sinister 2 3 (2) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation 4 (3) The Man From U.
But the movie loses its momentum as it stumbles to a fiery conclusion, ending on a note that's more simpering than sinister.
Sinister 2 97mins 15 A BOOGEYMAN targets another family in a disappointing sequel to the 2012 horror hit.
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But in the course of his investigation, he uncovers a sinister conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of Victorian society.