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 periodicals archive ?
When the people of East Germany told their regime it was time to retire, it became just too obvious: Those rulers had no grand plan, sinister or otherwise, except holding onto power and then begging for mercy.
Currently on tour with Big & Rich, Sinister is no stranger to the spotlight.
While Grant's character currently has no name, he was described as a mad scientist, something Mister Sinister happens to be.
But the movie loses its momentum as it stumbles to a fiery conclusion, ending on a note that's more simpering than sinister.
We've recently seen him play sinister for laughs - albeit dark laughs - in Inside No.
The Sinister is also sold fully accessorized in a Field Ready package for $699.
We are now convinced that investigations into the bomb blast cases at Ajmer and Hyderabad are political and vindictive and there are clear signs of a sinister design to defame the RSS," Sangh's chief executive Suresh Joshi said.
White describes his latest book, Sinister Yogis, as the final installment of a trilogy, and it is both his most accessible and in some ways his most innovative book.
Then, as it becomes clear that Daryl has a secret reason for wanting to be hired, a sinister game of cat and mouse develops.
The Black 'Sinister' Soul is based on the Soul urban passenger Vehicle and features 20-inch black rims with machined accents and smoked-out headlamps and tail lamps, and exteriors with matte sinister black paint.
SINISTER songsmiths The Scaramanga Six are also heading for the Parish this month.
Bailey and Reinfurt proposed Dexter Sinister as a print workshop in Cyprus that would fulfill the roles of designer, editor, printer, and distributor for the event's publications.
Photos with sinister connotations (such as a man hovering menacingly over a woman) will be projected, prompting dancers to put their own "spin" on them.
Jack Coleman, who plays the sinister, horned-rim-glasses-
Along with her best friend Sam, Rachel must embark on a harrowing quest across and beneath the surface of the world, into the dark realm of sea witches and sinister magic.