Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.



April 6th, 2015

Episode 158 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 06, 2015 is: purport \per-PORT\ verb 1 : to have the often specious appearance of being, intending, or claiming (something implied or inferred); also : claim 2 : intend, purpose Examples: The authors purport to offer irrefutable proof of a conspiracy, but in reality their book gives us nothing but unproven conjecture. "A disclosure requirement does not purport to be a solution, in and of itself, to a problematic public practiceno more than a news report about a scandal claims to resolve it." Chris Gates, New York Times, March 2, 2015 Did you know? The verb purport passed into English in the late 1300s. It derives from the Anglo-French verb purporter (meaning both "to carry" and "to mean"), which itself combined the prefix pur- ("thoroughly") and the verb porter ("to carry"). Like its French parent, purport originally referred to the indubitable meaning or intention conveyed in a text or statement. Inevitably, what was purported sometimes faced contradiction or doubt. By the late 17th century, use of purport reflected this fact in its now common sense referring to claims, assertions, or appearances that only seem to be true on the surface.