Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Under English common law, the state of having lost one's legal and civil personhood, as through losing the legal capacity to own or pass on property.
  • noun Obsolete Dishonor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A bringing under some disgrace, stain, or imputation; the state of being in dishonor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun 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.
  • noun obsolete A stain or staining; state of being in dishonor or condemnation.
  • noun a bill brought into, or passed by, a legislative body, condemning a person to death or outlawry, and attainder, without judicial sentence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun law, rare 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun cancellation of civil rights

Etymologies

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

[Middle English atteindre, act of attainting, from Old French ataindre, to convict, affect, attainder; see attain.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman ataindre, with infinitive used as noun frequent in Law French.

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

  • 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

Comments

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

    August 24, 2008