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From Middle English condempnen, from Old French condamner, from Latin condemnāre (to sentence, condemn, blame), from com- + damnāre (to harm, condemn, damn), from damnum (damage, injury, loss). Displaced native Middle English fordemen (from Old English fordeman (condemn, sentence, doom) > Modern English fordeem.



condemn (third-person singular simple present condemns, present participle condemning, simple past and past participle condemned)

  1. (transitive) To strongly criticise or denounce; to excoriate the perpetrators of.
    The president condemned the terrorists.
    • 1722, William Wollaston, “Sect. V. Truths relating to the Deity. Of his exiſtence, perfection, providence, &c.”, in The Religion of Nature Delineated[1], page 81:
      Ignorant and ſuperſtitious wretches meaſure the actions of letterd and philoſophical men by the tattle of their nurſes or illiterate parents and companions, or by the faſhion of the country : and people of differing religions judge and condemn each other by their own tenents ; when both of them cannot be in the right, and it is well if either of them are.
  2. (transitive) To judicially pronounce (someone) guilty.
  3. (transitive) To judicially announce a verdict upon a finding of guilt; To sentence
    The judge condemned him to death.
    She was condemned to life in prison.
  4. (transitive) To confer eternal divine punishment upon.
  5. (transitive) To adjudge (a building) as being unfit for habitation.
    The house was condemned after it was badly damaged by fire.
  6. (transitive) To adjudge (building or construction work) as of unsatisfactory quality, requiring the work to be redone.
  7. (transitive) To adjudge (food or drink) as being unfit for human consumption.
  8. To declare something to be unfit for use, or further use.
    • 1962 December, “Motive Power Miscellany: Western Region”, in Modern Railways, page 425:
      There was a massive slaughter of W.R. steam power at the conclusion of the summer timetable. In all, 169 locomotives were condemned.
  9. (transitive) To determine and declare (property) to be assigned to public use. See eminent domain.
  10. (transitive, law) To declare (a vessel) to be forfeited to the government, to be a prize, or to be unfit for service.



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