Definition of attainder in English:



  • The forfeiture of land and civil rights suffered as a consequence of a sentence of death for treason or felony:

    ‘the attainder of the fourth Duke of Norfolk’
    [mass noun] ‘Robert's loyalty to Margaret of Anjou led to attainder and forfeiture’
    • ‘If I remember rightly, this Act abolished attainder in New South Wales.’
    • ‘Such attacks normally took one of two forms, either that of prosecutions and fines at law for misfeasance, or the more drastic resort of attainder and forfeiture.’
    • ‘He had a son, the Earl of Warwick, who didn't inherit the dukedom because of the attainder, and was himself later found guilty of treason and executed under Henry VII.’
    • ‘They limited punishment to the person charged, and abjured the attainder of the traitor's relatives or heirs.’
    • ‘Edward IV and Henry VII restored their authority by attainders and forfeitures coupled to the rigorous exploitation of the king's feudal rights.’
    confiscation, sequestration, loss, losing, denial
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, variant (used as a noun) of Old French ateindre in the sense ‘convict, bring to justice’(see attain).