from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A legislative act pronouncing a person guilty of a crime, usually treason, without trial and subjecting that person to capital punishment and attainder. Such acts are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A legislative determination imposing punishment without trial; prohibited under the United States Constitution.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. a bill brought into, or passed by, a legislative body, condemning a person to death or outlawry, and attainder, without judicial sentence.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a legislative act finding a person guilty of treason or felony without a trial
Sorry, no etymologies found.
This information I had from Parson Hurt, who happened at the time to be in London, whither he had gone to receive clerical orders; and I was informed afterwards by Peyton Randolph, that it had procured me the honor of having my name inserted in a long list of proscriptions, enrolled in a bill of attainder commenced in one of the Houses of Parliament, but suppressed in embryo by the hasty step of events, which warned them to be a little cautious.
In March, 1534, however, a special bill of attainder against the Bishop of Rochester and others for complicity in the matter of the Nun of Kent was introduced and passed.