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.
"to convict quickly and perhaps unjustly," 1873, American English, from railroad (n.) as the then-fastest form of travel.
A person knowing more than might be desirable of the affairs, or perhaps the previous life of some powerful individual, high in authority, might some day ventilate his knowledge, possibly before a court of justice; but if his wisdom is railroaded to State's prison, his evidence becomes harmless. ["Wanderings of a Vagabond," New York, 1873]
Related: Railroaded; railroading. An earlier verb sense was "to have a mania for building railroads" (1847).