Condemn

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Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French condempner, from Latin condemnare, from com- + damnare to condemn - see damn below

Definitions

  • 1 : to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation <a policy widely condemned as racist>
  • 2 a : to pronounce guilty : convict
b : sentence, doom <condemn a prisoner to die>
  • 3 : to adjudge unfit for use or consumption <condemn an old apartment building>
  • 4 : to declare convertible to public use under the right of eminent domain

Description

  • Damn

Its Proto-Indo-European language origin is usually said to be a root dap-, which appears in Latin and Greek words meaning "feast" and "expense". (The connection is that feasts tend to be expensive.) In Latin this root provided a theorized early Latin noun *dapnom, which became Classical Latin damnum = "damage" or "expense". But there is a Vedic Sanskrit root dabh or dambh = "harm".

The word damnum did not have exclusively religious overtones. From it in English came "condemn"; "damnified" (an obsolete adjective meaning "damaged"); "damage" (via French from Latin damnaticum). It began to be used for being found guilty in a court of law; but, for example, an early French treaty called the Strasbourg Oaths includes the Latin phrase in damno sit = "would cause harm". From the judicial meaning came the religious meaning.