mid-14c., "to convince by arguments, convince of wrongdoing or sin" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin convictus, past participle of convincere "to 'overcome' in argument, to overcome decisively; to convict of crime or error," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + vincere "to conquer" (from nasalized form of PIE root *weik- (3) "to fight, conquer").
Meaning "prove or find guilty of an offense charged" is from late 14c. It replaced Old English verb oferstælan. Related: Convicted; convicting.
late 15c., "person proved or found guilty of an alleged offence," from obsolete adjective convict "convicted," from Latin convictus (see convict (v.)). Slang shortening con is from 1893.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to fight, conquer."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin victor "a conqueror," vincere "to conquer, overcome, defeat;" Lithuanian apveikiu, apveikti "to subdue, overcome;" Old Church Slavonic veku "strength, power, age;" Old Norse vigr "able in battle," Old English wigan "fight;" Welsh gwych "brave, energetic," Old Irish fichim "I fight," second element in Celtic Ordovices "those who fight with hammers."
a slang or colloquial shortening of various nouns beginning in con-, such as, from the 19th century, confidant, conundrum, conformist, convict, contract, and from the 20th century, conductor, conservative.
"the science of plants," 1690s, from botanic. The -y is from astronomy, etc. Botany Bay in Australia so called by Capt. Cook (1770) on account of the great variety of plants found there; later it was a convict settlement (1778).
1570s, "to corrupt, contaminate," also "to touch, tinge, imbue slightly" (1590s), from Middle English teynten "to convict, prove guilty" (late 14c.), which is partly from Old French ataint, past participle of ataindre "to touch upon, seize" (see attainder). It also is from Anglo-French teinter "to color, dye" (early 15c.), from Old French teint (12c.), past participle of teindre "to dye, color," from Latin tingere (see tincture). Related: Tainted; tainting.
Middle English dampnen, also damnen, dammen, late 13c. as a legal term, "to condemn, declare guilty, convict;" c. 1300 in the theological sense of "doom to punishment in a future state," from Old French damner "damn, condemn; convict, blame; injure," derivative of Latin damnare "to adjudge guilty; to doom; to condemn, blame, reject," from noun damnum "damage, hurt, harm; loss, injury; a fine, penalty," from Proto-Italic *dapno-, possibly from an ancient religious term from PIE *dap- "to apportion in exchange" [Watkins] or *dhp-no- "expense, investment" [de Vaan]. The -p- in the English word disappeared 16c.
The legal meaning "pronounce judgment upon" evolved in the Latin word. The optative expletive use likely is as old as the theological sense. Damn and its derivatives generally were avoided in print from 18c. to 1930s (the famous line in the film version of "Gone with the Wind" was a breakthrough and required much effort by the studio). Meaning "judge or pronounce (a work) to be bad by public expression" is from 1650s; to damn with faint praise is from Pope.
The noun is recorded from 1610s, "utterance of the word 'damn.'" To be not worth a damn is from 1817. To not give (or care) a damn is by 1760. The adjective is 1775, short for damned; Damn Yankee, the characteristic Southern U.S. term for "Northerner," is attested by 1812 (as damned). Related: Damning.