formerly also endict, c. 1300, enditen, inditen, "bring formal charges against (someone); accuse of a crime," from Anglo-French enditer "accuse, indict, find chargeable with a criminal offense" (late 13c.), Old French enditier, enditer "to dictate, write, compose; (legally) indict," from Vulgar Latin *indictare "to declare, accuse, proclaim in writing," from in- "in" (from PIE root *en "in") + Latin dictare "to declare, dictate," frequentative of dicere "to say, speak" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly").
Retained its French pronunciation after the spelling was re-Latinized c. 1600. Later 14c. non-legal senses "write, compose (a poem, etc.); dictate" have gone with the older form, endite, indite (q.v.). The sense is perhaps partly confused with Latin indicare "to point out." In classical Latin, indictus meant "not said, unsaid" (from in- "not"). Related: Indictable; indicted; indicting.
It forms all or part of: abdicate; abdication; addict; adjudge; apodictic; avenge; benediction; betoken; condition; contradict; contradiction; dedicate; deictic; deixis; dictate; diction; dictionary; dictum; digit; disk; ditto; ditty; edict; Eurydice; index; indicate; indication; indict; indiction; indictive; indite; interdict; judge; judicial; juridical; jurisdiction; malediction; malison; paradigm; policy (n.2) "written insurance agreement;" preach; predicament; predicate; predict; prejudice; revenge; soi-disant; syndic; teach; tetchy; theodicy; toe; token; valediction; vendetta; verdict; veridical; vindicate; vindication; voir dire.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dic- "point out, show;" Greek deiknynai "to show, to prove," dike "custom, usage;" Latin dicere "speak, tell, say," digitus "finger," Old High German zeigon, German zeigen "to show," Old English teon "to accuse," tæcan "to teach."
"to inform against, betray one's accomplices," 1560s (earlier pechen, "to accuse, indict, bring to trial," c. 1400), a shortening of appeach, empeach, obsolete variants of impeach. For form, compare peal (v.), also Middle English pelour "an accuser," from appellour. Related: Peached; peaching; peacher.
Fixed by Constantine and reckoned from Sept. 1, 312. Originally for taxation purposes, it was "a common and convenient means for dating ordinary transactions" [Century Dictionary]. The name refers to the "proclamation," at the beginning of each period, of the valuation upon which real property would be taxed.