at·​tain·​der | \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

First Known Use of attainder

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for attainder

Middle English attaynder, from Anglo-French ateindre conviction, from infinitive of ateindre

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The first known use of attainder was in the 15th century

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at·​tain·​der | \ə-ˈtān-dər \

Legal Definition of attainder 

: the termination of the civil rights of a person upon a sentence of death or outlawry for treason or a felony — see also bill of attainder at bill sense 1, corruption of blood

Note: In English law up to the nineteenth century, attainder was the harsh consequence of conviction for treason or a felony. It resulted in the forfeiture of the convicted person's property. It also involved corruption of blood, which barred the person from inheriting, retaining, or passing title, rank, or property. A person outlawed lost the right to seek protection under the law. Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits corruption of blood or forfeiture upon a conviction for treason “except during the life of the person attainted,” and Article I, Section 9 prohibits bills of attainder. Attainder was abolished in England in 1870.

History and Etymology for attainder

Anglo-French atteinder, from ateindre to convict, sentence, literally, to reach, attain, ultimately from Latin attingere to reach, from ad to + tangere to touch

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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