Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. In the ancient common law, the state of an offender who had been sentenced for a capital offense.
  • n. Obsolete Dishonor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state a prisoner enters once a death sentence (usually for treason) had been issued; the state of being stripped of all civil rights.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of attainting, or the state of being attainted; the extinction of the civil rights and capacities of a person, consequent upon sentence of death or outlawry.
  • n. A stain or staining; state of being in dishonor or condemnation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of attainting, or the state of being attainted; the legal consequence of judgment of death or outlawry pronounced in respect of treason or felony: as, a bill of attainder; to remove an attainder.
  • n. A bringing under some disgrace, stain, or imputation; the state of being in dishonor.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. cancellation of civil rights

Etymologies

Middle English atteindre, act of attainting, from Old French ataindre, to convict, affect, attainder; see attain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman ataindre, with infinitive used as noun frequent in Law French. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Sunday's term was bill of attainder, which is defined as:

    Legal Definitions

  • So they pass a bill which is an ex post facto bill as well as a bill of attainder, which is unconstitutional, so they're using the tax code to punish people.

    CNN Transcript Mar 20, 2009

  • "I'm not surprised," said Drumcarro; "one of the old Douglas family before the attainder was as good as any one of their new-fangled dukes."

    Kirsteen: The Story of a Scotch Family Seventy Years Ago

  • When Congress singles out someone or a group to penalize, it is a bill of attainder, which is as unconstitutional as you can get.

    BusinessWeek.com --

  • The Los Angeles Times reports that legal experts agree that the bill that passed the House on Friday would probably not be considered a bill of attainder, which is essentially a law that singles out one group for punishment and is prohibited by the Constitution.

    Daily Kos

  • As such, it sounds an awful lot like something the Constitution expressly forbids -- a bill of attainder, which is a punishment of particular individuals imposed not by a court of law but by a legislative body.

    Latest Articles

  • a bill of attainder, which is a punishment of particular individuals imposed not by a court of law but by a legislative body.

    David Drake

  • - What 'attainder' is, and why it affects our fighting men in uniform.

    Euphoric Reality

  • "attainder" clause and require it to continue to use their services?

    The Volokh Conspiracy

  • Corporate interests like Disney fully plan to keep extending copyright indefinitely, like they did with the Bono Bill, a blatantly unConstitutional law (it changes the rules for events which have already occurred, which is a clear “ex post facto bill of attainder”, and hence unConstitutional).

    Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » Amazon and Macmillan

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  • Forfeiture of hereditary honors and dignities following a conviction for treason.

    August 24, 2008