prof·​fer | \ ˈprä-fər How to pronounce proffer (audio) \
proffered; proffering\ ˈprä-​f(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce proffering (audio) \

Definition of proffer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to present for acceptance : tender, offer

intransitive verb

US law
: to offer to take part in a proffer session decided that an indictment was unlikely and there was no reason to proffer



Definition of proffer (Entry 2 of 2)

2 US law : an offer made to a prosecutor by a person who is a subject of a criminal investigation to provide information in exchange for limited immunity or a plea bargaining agreement made a proffer in the hope of avoiding prosecution

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Synonyms for proffer

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Did You Know?


You may notice a striking similarity between "proffer" and "offer." Are the two words connected by etymology? Yes, indeed. "Proffer" comes from Anglo-French profrer, which itself is an alteration of the earlier "porofrir." That word in turn combines "por-" (which means "forth" and is related to our "pro-") and "offrir" (which means "to offer" and is an ancestor of our word offer). "Proffer" entered English in the 14th century. A more literary word than plain "offer," it adds or puts stress on the idea of voluntariness, spontaneity, or courtesy on the part of the one doing the tendering.

Examples of proffer in a Sentence

Verb He proffered advice on how best to proceed. proffered his assistance in helping the two sides reach a compromise Noun a generous proffer of his baronial estate for the charity gala
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Every bank scrambled to get on the deal, mindful of the risk that proffering a conservative valuation might close the door. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Wall Street’s Finest Walk Into a $2 Trillion Mess on Saudi Aramco," 19 Nov. 2019 In preparation for the press event, Catholic Charities proffered a list of prepared quotes from politicians and business leaders across the state. Tad Vezner, Twin Cities, "‘Taking care of people head to toe, mind, body and soul.’ Final phase of Dorothy Day Place opens," 23 Oct. 2019 Yet for me, of all those proffering a seer-stone to secret knowledge today, Q is the most interesting. Matt Farwell, The New Republic, "The Forgotten Christian Terror Cult That Presaged Trump’s Memes," 22 Oct. 2019 Below is Russell’s helmeted rogue operative Zorri Bliss proffering an unmarked coin or data storage device of some kind. James Hibberd,, "See Keri Russell's mysterious Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker character in new photo," 16 Oct. 2019 As a result, the film doesn’t convey the free play of memory and the free flow of discourse but rather the mechanical tone of a cinematic Pez dispenser proffering sweetened and uniformly shaped lozenges of incident. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Review: The Wan Faithfulness That Made “The Goldfinch” Movie a Flop," 18 Sep. 2019 Zombies, pumpkins and ghosts sprang from a paper proffered by a little boy in a striped shirt. Vincent T. Davis,, "San Antonio youth counselor offers kids love, attention and motherly discipline," 4 Nov. 2019 Smart Reply proffers brief answers to routine emails. The Economist, "Don’t fear the Writernator," 31 Oct. 2019 Cohen mentions a kiosk at this year’s combine at which salesmen promoted new, high-tech football helmets, proffering the illusion that the sport may be rendered perfectly safe. Harper's magazine, "Letters," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The people familiar with the matter reiterated the companies -- including McKesson -- have made an opening proffer of a settlement price. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "McKesson, AmerisourceBergen among opiod distributors proposing $10 billion payment to settle state claims," 6 Aug. 2019 Be warned that etiquette having no objection to such proffers does not guarantee a welcoming reaction from the recipient. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, "Miss Manners: These moochers think they’re entitled to our pricey wine," 24 July 2019 Prosecutors argued such an informal immunity agreement, known as a proffer, would have been made in writing and no corroborating paperwork has been found. Fox News, "Man who jumped out of freezer and died was cold-case suspect," 6 Aug. 2018 According to the plea agreement, Mr. Cohen’s lawyers executed his proffer agreement with Mr. Mueller’s office on August 7, two weeks before his guilty plea in Manhattan. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Michael Cohen’s Lawyers Ask for No Prison Time After Plea," 1 Dec. 2018 Lying during his proffer: Downing also pressed Gates on the specifics of his plea deal with Mueller’s team. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "Manafort’s defense team goes all out to try to discredit Rick Gates’s testimony," 7 Aug. 2018 And that conversation will typically happen through something called a proffer agreement. Jen Kirby, Vox, "How to flip a witness, as explained by a former federal prosecutor," 3 Aug. 2018 In its second act, American Conservatory Theater’s production both makes a riot of a slow-motion fight scene and proffers ageless wisdom won from the ravages of war. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Theater capsule reviews and listings, week of April 22," 19 Apr. 2018 No matter what happens, this thought experiment proffers, someone is going to die. Betsy Morais, Longreads, "The Menace and the Promise of Autonomous Vehicles," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'proffer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of proffer


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for proffer


Middle English profren, from Anglo-French profrer, proffrir, porofrir, from por- forth (from Latin pro-) + offrir to offer — more at pro-

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Time Traveler for proffer

Time Traveler

The first known use of proffer was in the 14th century

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Statistics for proffer

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Proffer.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for proffer


How to pronounce proffer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of proffer

formal : to offer or give (something) to someone


prof·​fer | \ ˈprä-fər How to pronounce proffer (audio) \
proffered; proffering

Kids Definition of proffer

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More from Merriam-Webster on proffer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for proffer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with proffer

Spanish Central: Translation of proffer

Nglish: Translation of proffer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of proffer for Arabic Speakers

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very cautious or careful

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