"breach of faith or trust, base treachery," 1590s, from French perfidie (16c.), from Latin perfidia "faithlessness, falsehood, treachery," from perfidus "faithless," from phrase per fidem decipere "to deceive through trustingness," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + fidem (nominative fides) "faith" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade").
[C]ombinations of wickedness would overwhelm the world by the advantage which licentious principles afford, did not those who have long practiced perfidy grow faithless to each other. [Samuel Johnson, "Life of Waller"]
"faithless, basely treacherous," 1590s, from Latin perfidiosus "treacherous," from perfidia "faithlessness" (see perfidy). Related: Perfidiously; perfidiousness.
The treacherous man either betrays the confidence that is reposed in him, or lures another on to harm by deceitful appearances; as, the treacherous signals of the wrecker. The perfidious man carries treachery to the basest extreme: he betrays acknowledged and accepted obligations, and even the most sacred relationships and claims: as, Benedict Arnold and Judas are types of perfidy. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
It forms all or part of: abide; abode; affiance; affidavit; auto-da-fe; bide; bona fide; confederate; confidant; confide; confidence; confident; defiance; defy; diffidence; diffident; faith; fealty; federal; federate; federation; fiancee; fideism; fidelity; fiducial; fiduciary; infidel; infidelity; nullifidian; perfidy; solifidian.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pistis "faith, confidence, honesty;" Latin fides "trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief;" Albanian be "oath," bindem "to be convinced, believe;" Old Church Slavonic beda "distress, necessity," bediti "to force, persuade;" Old English biddan "to ask, beg, pray," German bitten "to ask."
Proto-Indo-European root forming prepositions, etc., meaning "forward," and, by extension, "in front of, before, first, chief, toward, near, against," etc.
It forms all or part of: afford; approach; appropriate; approve; approximate; barbican; before; deprive; expropriate; far; first; for; for-; fore; fore-; forefather; foremost; former (adj.); forth; frame; frau; fret; Freya; fro; froward; from; furnish; furniture; further; galore; hysteron-proteron; impervious; improbity; impromptu; improve; palfrey; par (prep.); para- (1) "alongside, beyond; altered; contrary; irregular, abnormal;" paradise; pardon; paramount; paramour; parvenu; pellucid; per; per-; percent; percussion; perennial; perestroika; perfect; perfidy; perform; perfume; perfunctory; perhaps; peri-; perish; perjury; permanent; permeate; permit; pernicious; perpendicular; perpetual; perplex; persecute; persevere; perspective; perspire; persuasion; pertain; peruse; pervade; pervert; pierce; portray; postprandial; prae-; Prakrit; pre-; premier; presbyter; Presbyterian; preterite; pride; priest; primal; primary; primate; primavera; prime; primeval; primitive; primo; primogenitor; primogeniture; primordial; primus; prince; principal; principle; prior; pristine; private; privilege; privy; pro (n.2) "a consideration or argument in favor;" pro-; probably; probe; probity; problem; proceed; proclaim; prodigal; produce; profane; profess; profile; profit; profound; profuse; project; promise; prompt; prone; proof; proper; property; propinquity; prophet; prose; prostate; prosthesis; protagonist; Protean; protect; protein; Proterozoic; protest; proto-; protocol; proton; protoplasm; Protozoa; proud; prove; proverb; provide; provoke; prow; prowess; proximate; Purana; purchase; purdah; reciprocal; rapprochement; reproach; reprove; veneer.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pari "around, about, through," parah "farther, remote, ulterior," pura "formerly, before," pra- "before, forward, forth;" Avestan pairi- "around," paro "before;" Hittite para "outside of," Greek peri "around, about, near, beyond," pera "across, beyond," paros "before," para "from beside, beyond," pro "before;" Latin pro "before, for, on behalf of, instead of," porro "forward," prae "before," per "through;" Old Church Slavonic pra-dedu "great-grandfather;" Russian pere- "through;" Lithuanian per "through;" Old Irish ire "farther," roar "enough;" Gothic faura "before," Old English fore (prep.) "before, in front of," (adv.) "before, previously," fram "forward, from," feor "to a great distance, long ago;" German vor "before, in front of;" Old Irish air- Gothic fair-, German ver-, Old English fer-, intensive prefixes.
As a class of crime in common law, also from c. 1300, from Anglo-French. The exact definition changed over time and place, and even the distinction from misdemeanor or trespass is not always observed. In old use often a crime involving forfeiture of lands, goods, or a fee or a crime punishable by death. Variously used in the U.S.; often the sense is "crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state penitentiary."