• synonyms


  1. the legal consequence of judgment of death or outlawry for treason or felony, involving the loss of all civil rights.
  2. Obsolete. dishonor.
Show More

Origin of attainder

1425–75; late Middle English, noun use of Anglo-French attaindre to convict, Old French ataindre to convict, attain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for attainder

Historical Examples

  • This Bill of his Attainder shall not have One true man's hand to it.

    Browning's England

    Helen Archibald Clarke

  • The first measure brought forward was the repeal of Pole's attainder.

    The Reign of Mary Tudor

    W. Llewelyn Williams.

  • A period from about the death of Anne Boleyn to his attainder.

  • Is attainder and corruption of blood ever a proper punishment?

  • This bill of attainder was passed by a large majority—yeas 204, nays 59.

    Charles I

    Jacob Abbott

British Dictionary definitions for attainder


  1. (formerly) the extinction of a person's civil rights resulting from a sentence of death or outlawry on conviction for treason or felonySee also bill of attainder
  2. obsolete dishonour
Show More
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

Word Origin and History for attainder


"extinction of rights of a person sentenced to death or outlaw," mid-15c., from noun use of Old French ataindre "to touch upon, strike, hit, seize, accuse, condemn" (see attain). For use of French infinitives as nouns, especially in legal language, cf. waiver.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper