One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1historical Subject (someone) to attainder.‘to his lands Henry added the property of several landowners attainted in the course of his reign’
- ‘Fisher was deprived, attainted, and beheaded for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as supreme head of the Church.’
- ‘After attainting Strafford and repudiating Charles's policies during the 1630s, the Long Parliament had turned its attention to the Church and proposed the abolition of bishops and their replacement by a system of lay commissioners.’
- ‘Attainders could also do serious damage if they left a power vacuum in a particular region, as occurred in East Anglia when the third duke of Norfolk was attainted by Henry VIII in 1547.’
- ‘George was attainted in 1477 and murdered in the Tower of London the following year.’
- ‘Cecil wanted her attainted in Parliament and executed for her alleged part in the Ridolfi plot.’
- ‘Fortescue fought at the battle of Towton and was subsequently attainted by the victorious Edward IV.’
2archaic Affect or infect with disease or corruption.‘even to have kicked an outsider might have been held to attaint the foot’
Middle English (in the sense ‘touch, reach, attain’): from obsolete attaint (adjective), from Old French ataint, ateint, past participle of ateindre ‘bring to justice’ (see attain); influenced in meaning by taint.
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