• vouchsafe
  • audio pronunciation
  • \vowch-SAYF\
  • DEFINITION

verb

1
a : to grant or furnish often in a gracious or condescending manner b : to give by way of reply
2
: to grant as a privilege or special favor
  • EXAMPLES

"Hear my cry, O God the Reader; vouchsafe that this my book fall not still-born into the world wilderness." — From W. E. B. DuBois' 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk

"[Helen] Mirren is in a suite so vast it has its own internal lobby with a comedic number of doors leading off it. As I arrive, she is apparently behind one of them, wrapping a shoot for another publication (she doesn't vouchsafe which; it's not my business anyway), while I am led through another one to await her." — From an article by Vicki Woods in Vogue, March 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Shakespeare fans are well acquainted with "vouchsafe." The word, which was borrowed with its present meaning from Anglo-French in the 14th century, pops up fairly frequently in the Bard's work—60 times, to be exact. "Vouchsafe me yet your picture for my love," beseeches Proteus of Silvia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. "Vouchsafe me raiment, bed, and food," King Lear begs his daughter Regan. But you needn't turn to Shakespeare to find "vouchsafe." As illustrated by our second example sentence above, today's writers also find it to be a perfectly useful word.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "nonpareil," our Word of the Day from June 4? The answer is …

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