A Dictionary of the English Language
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Attaint (verb)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 177

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 177

To Atta'int. v.a. [attenter, Fr.]

  1. To attaint is particularly used for such as are found guilty of some crime or offence, and especially of felony or treason. A man is attainted two ways, by appearance, or by process. Attainder by appearance is by confession, battle, or verdict. Confession is double; one at the bar before the judges, when the prisoner, upon his indictment read, being asked guilty or not guilty, answers guilty, never putting himself upon the verdict of the jury. The other is before the coroner in sanctuary, where he, upon his confession, was in former times constrained to abjure the realm; which kind is called attainder by abjuration. Attainder by battle is, when the party appealed, and choosing to try the truth by combat rather than by jury, is vanquished. Attainder by verdict is, when the prisoner at the bar, answering to the indictment not guilty, hath an inquest of life and death passing upon him, and is by the verdict pronounced guilty. Attainder by process is, where a party flies, and is not found till five times called publickly in the county, and at last outlawed upon his default. Cowel.

    Were it not an endless trouble, that no traitor or felon should be attainted, but a parliament must be called. Spenser on Ireland.

    I must offend before I be attainted. Shakesp. Hen. VI.

  2. To taint; to corrupt.

    My tender youth was never yet attaint
    With any passion of inflaming love.
    Shakesp. Henry VI.

Sources: Cowell, John (42) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 (46) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Spenser, Edmund (254)

Attributes: French (385) · Verb Active (289)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Attaint (verb)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 25, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=3752.


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