mid-14c., "condition of damnation, spiritual ruin, state of the souls of the wicked in Hell," a special theological sense; the general sense of "utter destruction, entire ruin, great harm, death, fact of being lost or destroyed," is by late 14c.; from Old French perdicion "loss, calamity, perdition" of souls (11c.) and directly from Late Latin perditionem (nominative perditio) "ruin, destruction," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin perdere "do away with, destroy; lose, throw away, squander," from per- "through" (here perhaps with intensive or completive force, "to destruction") + dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). The theological sense gradually extinguished the general use of the word.
updated on March 30, 2020