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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English atteinte, from Old French ateint, past participle of ateindre; in some senses influenced by taint.



attaint (comparative more attaint, superlative most attaint)

  1. (obsolete) Convicted, attainted.
  2. (obsolete) Attainted; corrupted.


attaint (third-person singular simple present attaints, present participle attainting, simple past and past participle attainted)

  1. (archaic) To subject to attainder; to condemn (someone) to death and extinction of all civil rights.
    • 2020, Hilary Mantel, The Mirror and the Light, Fourth Estate, page 216:
      Tom Truth is attainted. All he has — not much — is forfeit to the king, and he is entitled to nothing but a traitorʼs death.
  2. (archaic) To subject to calumny; to accuse of a crime or dishonour.
  3. (now rare) To taint; to corrupt, sully.


attaint (plural attaints)

  1. (archaic) A blow or strike, especially in jousting.
    • 1820, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe, Chapter 8,[4]
      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”, 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.
    • 2009, Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall, Fourth Estate 2010, p. 484:
      At the moment of impact, the king’s eyes are open, his body braced for the atteint; he takes the blow perfectly, its force absorbed by a body securely armoured, moving in the right direction, moving at the right speed.
  2. A wound on the leg of a horse caused by a blow
  3. (obsolete, law) The giving of a false verdict by a jury; the conviction of such a jury, and the reversal of the verdict