Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bastard n.

1. [late 16C+] (also barsterd) a contemptible, objectionable person.

2. [1910s+] (orig. Aus.) a general term for a man, a person or any form of creature or thing; not esp. derog.; e.g. lucky bastard.

3. [1910s+] (orig. Aus.) a term of man-to-man affection; often as old bastard

4. [1920s+] an admirable person, creature or object.

5. [1930s+] (orig. Aus.) a situation, a circumstance, usu. a problematic one.

6. [1930s+] an object.

In derivatives

bastarding (adj.)

[1940s+] a general intensifer, a modified version of fucking adj. (1)

In compounds

bastard-faced (adj.)

[1950s] a general term of abuse.

bastard-well (adv.)

[1920s–50s] a general intensifier, completely, extremely, very much.

In phrases

as a bastard (adv.) (also as a beast, as a cunt) [SE beast/cunt n. (4)]

[1970s+] a general intensifier, usu. with adj.

go like a bastard (v.)

[1990s+] (Aus.) to commit oneself unrestrainedly.

it’s a bastard

[20C+] (orig. Aus.) a phr. for anything considered unpleasant, excessively challenging etc.

like a bastard (adv.)

[1910s+] (orig. US) a general intensifier; often with lie or work.

old bastard (n.)

[late 19C+] a man, often used as a term of affectionate address.