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[uh-teyn-der] /əˈteɪn dər/
the legal consequence of judgment of death or outlawry for treason or felony, involving the loss of all civil rights.
Obsolete, dishonor.
1425-75; late Middle English, noun use of Anglo-French attaindre to convict, Old French ataindre to convict, attain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for attainder
  • At early common law, an offender convicted of a capital offense was placed in a state of attainder.
  • No attainder shall work corruption of blood, nor except during the life of the offender forfeiture of estate.
  • No conviction of treason or attainder shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
British Dictionary definitions for attainder


(formerly) the extinction of a person's civil rights resulting from a sentence of death or outlawry on conviction for treason or felony See also bill of attainder
(obsolete) dishonour
Archaic equivalent attainture (əˈteɪntʃə)
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-French attaindre to convict, from Old French ateindre to attain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for attainder
"extinction of rights of a person sentenced to death or outlaw," mid-15c., from O.Fr. ataindre "to touch upon, strike, hit, seize, accuse, condemn" (see attain). O.Fr. infinitive used as a noun. Latin attingere had a wide range of meanings, including "to attack, to strike, to appropriate, to manage," all somehow suggested by the literal sense "to touch."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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