Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Proffer

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is proffer. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Proffer is a formal word meaning “to present (something) for acceptance.” 

// Several recommendations were proffered by the finance board on how to reduce the city’s debt without making drastic cuts in department budgets.

PROFFER in Context

“Already, critics and fans have proffered their share of theories as to the One True Meaning of ‘Crimes of the Future.’ Some see it as an eco-fable about the damage humans have inflicted upon their environment. Others see a meditation on [filmmaker David] Cronenberg’s identity as an aging artist, an interpretation reinforced by [actor Viggo] Mortensen’s perhaps-ironic comment that the film is ‘autobiographical’ for Cronenberg.” — Noah Gittell, The Ringer, 6 June 2022

Did You Know?

As rhyming synonyms, proffer and offer are quite the pair, and we can proffer an explanation as to why: both come ultimately from Latin offerre, meaning “to present, tender, proffer, offer.” Offer had been part of the language for hundreds of years before proffer was adopted by way of an Anglo-French intermediary in the 14th century. A more formal word than its plainer relation, proffer often emphasizes courteousness on the part of the one doing the tendering.

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