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.
updated on October 31, 2017