vouch·​safe | \ vau̇ch-ˈsāf How to pronounce vouchsafe (audio) , ˈvau̇ch-ˌsāf How to pronounce vouchsafe (audio) \
vouchsafed; vouchsafing

Definition of vouchsafe

transitive verb

1a : to grant or furnish often in a gracious or condescending manner
b : to give by way of reply refused to vouchsafe an explanation
2 : to grant as a privilege or special favor

Other Words from vouchsafe

vouchsafement \ vau̇ch-​ˈsāf-​mənt How to pronounce vouchsafe (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for vouchsafe

grant, concede, vouchsafe, accord, award mean to give as a favor or a right. grant implies giving to a claimant or petitioner something that could be withheld. granted them a new hearing concede implies yielding something reluctantly in response to a rightful or compelling claim. even her critics concede she can be charming vouchsafe implies granting something as a courtesy or an act of gracious condescension. vouchsafed the secret to only a few chosen disciples accord implies giving to another what is due or proper. accorded all the honors befitting a head of state award implies giving what is deserved or merited usually after a careful weighing of pertinent factors. awarded the company a huge defense contract

Did you know?

Shakespeare fans are well acquainted with vouchsafe, which in its Middle English form vouchen sauf meant "to grant, consent, or deign." 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—today's writers also find it to be a perfectly useful word.

Examples of vouchsafe in a Sentence

He vouchsafed the secret to only a few chosen disciples.
Recent Examples on the Web Constitutionally speaking, the main reason for having federal law enforcement is to vouchsafe interstate and international commerce. The Editors, National Review, 20 Jan. 2022 Consider a test-tube example, almost ordered up to make the court’s case for it, vouchsafed by California just a few weeks ago. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, 6 July 2018

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

First Known Use of vouchsafe

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vouchsafe

Middle English vouchen sauf to grant, consent, deign, from Anglo-French voucher salf

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

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Cite this Entry

“Vouchsafe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vouchsafe. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for vouchsafe


vouch·​safe | \ vau̇ch-ˈsāf How to pronounce vouchsafe (audio) \
vouchsafed; vouchsafing

Kids Definition of vouchsafe

: to give or grant as a special favor … I riffled the pages of my book, hoping to be vouchsafed a map.— Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted

More from Merriam-Webster on vouchsafe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vouchsafe

Nglish: Translation of vouchsafe for Spanish Speakers


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