attainder

2 ENTRIES FOUND:

at·tain·der

noun \ə-ˈtān-dər\

Definition of ATTAINDER

1
:  extinction of the civil rights and capacities of a person upon sentence of death or outlawry usually after a conviction of treason
2
obsolete :  dishonor

Origin of ATTAINDER

Middle English attaynder, from Anglo-French ateindre conviction, from infinitive of ateindre
First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with ATTAINDER

attainder

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In English law, the extinction of civil and political rights after a sentence of death or outlawry, usually after a conviction of treason. A legislative act attainting a person without trial was known as a bill of attainder. The most important consequences of attainder were forfeiture of property and “corruption of blood,” meaning that the attainted person was disqualified from inheriting or transmitting property, thus disinheriting his descendants. All forms of attainder except forfeiture following indictment for treason were abolished in the 19th century. As a result of the English experience, the U.S. Constitution provided that “no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.” The U.S. Supreme Court has also struck down as bills of attainder such things as the test oaths passed after the Civil War to disqualify Confederate sympathizers from certain professions.

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: attainment
Previous Word in the Dictionary: attainableness
All Words Near: attainder

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up attainder? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).