Etymology
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convict (v.)

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.

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convict (n.)

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.

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escapee (n.)
"escaped prisoner or convict," 1865, American English, from escape (v.) + -ee.
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con (n.2)

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.

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yardbird (n.)
"convict," 1956, from yard (n.1) + bird (n.1), from the notion of prison yards; earlier it meant "basic trainee" (World War II armed forces slang).
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botany (n.)

"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).

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taint (v.)

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.

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damn (v.)
Origin and meaning of damn

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.

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railroad (v.)

"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).

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foreclose (v.)
late 13c., from Old French forclos, past participle of forclore "exclude, shut out; shun; drive away" (12c.), from fors "out" (Modern French hors; from Latin foris "outside;" see foreign) + clore "to shut" (see close (v.)). Senses in English influenced by words in for- (which is partly synonymous with the Latin word) and spelling by a mistaken association with native fore-. Specific mortgage law sense is first attested 1728. Other Middle English for- words in which the same prefix figures include forjuggen "condemn, convict, banish;" forloinen "forsake, stray from," and forfeit. Related: Foreclosed; foreclosing.
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