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 The streamer supported the film with a huge awards season promotional push that cost anywhere between $25 million to $50 million, the former figure proffered by Netflix and the latter by its rivals. Los Angeles Times, "Netflix embraces theatrical releases in quest for best picture Oscar. Will it be enough?," 27 Aug. 2019 NBC News has previously reported that Cohen has proffered information to prosecutors from the D.A.’s office. NBC News, "Manhattan DA subpoenas Trump's tax returns in probe of hush money payments," 16 Sep. 2019 The idea that America is premised on white supremacy has been a commonplace of political debate ever since it was proffered by pro-slavery intellectuals in the 1830s. Timothy Sandefur, National Review, "The Anti-Slavery Constitution," 12 Sep. 2019 But many supporters of the center didn't make it to the mic after Mayor Harry LaRosiliere proffered a solution that seemed to put council members' minds at ease. Dallas News, "Plano mayor puts Plan B debate to rest after council member's concern over funding rape crisis center," 19 Aug. 2019 On closer inspection, many shoppers appear to be leaving without proffering cash, card or mobile payment. The Economist, "DistributionAmazon and Alibaba are pacesetters of the next supply-chain revolution," 12 July 2019 Three separate lawmakers asked Cohen if Individual 1 in his indictment was the president of the United States—a fact that he had already proffered in his opening statement. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Please Don’t Blow the Mueller Hearings," 23 July 2019 There are many proffered reasons for going back: doing interesting science or the possibility of using resources there. Lee Billings, Scientific American, "Interview: The Once and Future Moon," 10 June 2019 Many articles proffer expert testimony that Go is harder than chess, making this victory more impressive. Quanta Magazine, "Is AlphaGo Really Such a Big Deal?," 29 Mar. 2016 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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Statistics for proffer

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for proffer

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

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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

Comments on proffer

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a calculated move

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