Definition of asseverate
- he always asseverated that he did not know
- —G. K. Chesterton
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Sharing writing advice in a 2001 article in the New York Times, the novelist Elmore Leonard wrote that he "had to stop reading to get the dictionary" when he encountered "she asseverated" instead of "she said" in a work by Mary McCarthy. We say with all seriousness that asseverate is a fancy word meaning "to assert or declare." It was formed in Latin from the prefix ad- ("to, toward") and the verb severare, a relative of the adjective severus, meaning "serious or severe." Nowadays asseverate is rare, used mostly, as Mr. Leonard found out, by those who like to show off their vocabularies.
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