affidavit

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noun af·fi·da·vit \ˌa-fə-ˈdā-vət\

Definition of affidavit

  1. :  a sworn statement in writing made especially under oath or on affirmation (see affirmation 2) before an authorized magistrate or officer The witness's affidavit was presented to the court as evidence.

Examples of affidavit in a sentence

  1. We have a signed affidavit stating that the two men were seen entering the building.

Promises, Promises: the History of affidavit, affiance, & fiancé

Affidavit refers to a written promise, and its Latin roots connect it to another kind of promise in English. It comes from a past tense form of the Latin verb affidare, meaning “to pledge”; in Latin, affidavit translates to “he or she has made a pledge.”

Affidare is also the root of affiance, an archaic English noun meaning “trust, faith, confidence,” “marriage contract or promise,” or a meaning that has completely fallen from use, “close or intimate relationship.” More familiar to modern English speakers is the verb affiance, meaning “to promise in marriage” or “to betroth.” It usually appears as a fancy-sounding participial adjective:

I like to give affianced friends a copy of Rebecca Mead’s book “One Perfect Day,” which exposes the ridiculous wedding industry.
—Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist, 7 October 2014

Affiance came through French to English in the 14th century, and, nearly 500 years later, the related French words fiancé and fiancée were added to English. Etymologically speaking, a fiancé or fiancée is a “promised one.”

Did You Know?

In Latin, affidavit means "he (she) has sworn an oath", and an affidavit is always a sworn written document. If it contains a lie, the person making it may be prosecuted. Affidavits are often used in court when it isn't possible for someone to appear in person. Police officers must usually file an affidavit with a judge to get a search warrant. Affidavits (unlike similar signed statements called depositions) are usually made without an opposing lawyer being present and able to ask questions.

Origin and Etymology of affidavit

Medieval Latin, he has made an oath, from affidare —see 1affiance


First Known Use: 1515


AFFIDAVIT Defined for English Language Learners

affidavit

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noun af·fi·da·vit \ˌa-fə-ˈdā-vət\

Definition of affidavit for English Language Learners

  • law : a written report which is signed by a person who promises that the information is true


AFFIDAVIT Defined for Kids

affidavit

play
noun af·fi·da·vit \ˌa-fə-ˈdā-vət\

Definition of affidavit for Students

  1. :  a written statement signed by a person who swears that the information is true


Law Dictionary

affidavit

play
noun af·fi·da·vit \ˌa-fə-ˈdā-vət\

Legal Definition of affidavit

  1. :  a sworn statement in writing made especially under oath or on affirmation before an authorized magistrate or officer — compare deposition, examination

Origin and Etymology of affidavit

Medieval Latin, he/she has pledged faith, third singular perfect of affidare — see affiant



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