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

  • transitive v. To impart stigma to; disgrace: "No breath of calumny ever attainted the personal purity of Savonarola” ( Henry Hart Milman).
  • transitive v. To pass a sentence of attainder against.
  • transitive v. Archaic To infect or corrupt, as with illness or vice.
  • transitive v. Archaic To accuse.
  • n. Obsolete Attainder.
  • n. Archaic A disgrace; a stigma.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Convicted, attainted.
  • v. To subject to attainder; to condemn (someone) to death and extinction of all civil rights.
  • v. To subject to calumny; to accuse of a crime or dishonour.
  • v. To taint; to corrupt, sully.
  • n. A blow or strike, especially in jousting.
  • n. A wound on the leg of a horse caused by a blow
  • n. The giving of a false verdict by a jury; the conviction of such a jury, and the reversal of the verdict

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A touch or hit.
  • n. A blow or wound on the leg of a horse, made by overreaching.
  • n. A writ which lies after judgment, to inquire whether a jury has given a false verdict in any court of record; also, the convicting of the jury so tried.
  • n. A stain or taint; disgrace. See Taint.
  • n. An infecting influence.
  • Attainted; corrupted.
  • transitive v. To attain; to get act; to hit.
  • transitive v. To find guilty; to convict; -- said esp. of a jury on trial for giving a false verdict.
  • transitive v. To subject (a person) to the legal condition formerly resulting from a sentence of death or outlawry, pronounced in respect of treason or felony; to affect by attainder.
  • transitive v. To accuse; to charge with a crime or a dishonorable act.
  • transitive v. To affect or infect, as with physical or mental disease or with moral contagion; to taint or corrupt.
  • transitive v. To stain; to obscure; to sully; to disgrace; to cloud with infamy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To touch; hit in tilting.
  • To attain; ascertain.
  • To convict (a jury) of having given a false verdict.
  • To affect with attainder; pass judgment on, as on one found guilty of a crime, as felony or treason, involving forfeiture of civil privileges.
  • To accuse: with of: as, to attaint a person of sorcery.
  • To affect with any passion or emotion.
  • To taint; disgrace; cloud with infamy; stain; corrupt.
  • Attainted; convicted.
  • Tainted; corrupted; infected; attacked.
  • n. The act of touching or hitting; specifically, in tilting, a hit.
  • n. A blow or wound on the leg of a horse caused by overreaching.
  • n. An ancient legal process instituted for reversing a false verdict given by a jury; conviction of a jury for giving such a verdict.
  • n. In old law: A conviction. Impeachment.
  • n. Infection; injurious or deleterious action.
  • n. Attainder.
  • n. A stain, spot, or taint; hence, a disgrace; an imputation involving dishonor.

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

  • v. bring shame or dishonor upon
  • v. condemn by attainder


Middle English attainten, from Old French ataint, past participle of ataindre, to affect; see attain.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French ateint, past participle of ateindre. (Wiktionary)


  • One of their antagonists was overthrown and both the others failed in the attaint, that is, in striking the helmet and shield of their antagonist firmly and strongly with the lance held in a direct line, so that the weapon might break unless the champion was overthrown.

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  • After it was clear beyond dispute that the criminal was no longer fit to live, he was called attaint, stained, or blackened, and before 6 and 7 Vict., c. 85 p. 1, could not be called as a witness in any court.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 2: Assizes-Browne

  • Others of his following failed not in the "attaint," and horses and troopers floundered in the sand.

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  • The blood of one convicted of high treason is "attaint," and his deprivations extend to his descendants, unless Parliament remove the attainder.

    The English Mail-Coach and Joan of Arc

  • This politic selection did not alter the fortune of the field, the challengers were still successful: one of their antagonists was overthrown, and both the others failed in the "attaint", [18] that is, in striking the helmet and shield of their antagonist firmly and strongly, with the lance held in a direct line, so that the weapon might break unless the champion was overthrown.


  • The careers of able officials and of CIA officers to whom the nation owed much were ruined, and they were nearly bankrupted — while the prime mover was judged too popular to attaint.

    The Politics Of Vengeance

  • They paused facing each other, and examined eagerly into their respective means of defence before hazarding a blow, which, if it missed, its attaint would certainly be fatally requited.

    Count Robert of Paris

  • S: (v) dishonor, disgrace, dishonour, attaint, shame (bring shame or dishonor upon) “he dishonored his family by committing a serious crime”

    Think Progress » Defense Department Disavows Santorum’s WMD Claims

  • Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont all provided, in their early constitutions, that the legislature had no power to attaint any person of treason.29 The federal Constitution radically restricted this king of crimes: it defined its content, once and for all, and hedged in treason trials with procedural safeguards.

    A History of American Law

  • Similarly, in Terry v. Adams, Rehnquist insisted that the Constitution does not prevent the majority from banding together, nor does it attaint success in the effort.

    Rehnquist the Great?


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