Word of the Day : October 21, 2013


verb uh-SEV-uh-rayt


: to affirm or declare positively or earnestly

Did You Know?

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.


"I will myself asseverate and bind it by an oath, that the muff thou bearest in thy hand belongeth unto Madam Sophia; for I have frequently observed her, of later days, to bear it about her." - From Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel Tom Jones

"And as the dinner progressed, the fire she had shone on the floor at the United Nations ignited: 'You stick to your guns.' Only one other person fortified me with advice like that, Lady Thatcher, who asseverated, 'If you have nothing else you have your principles.'" - From an article by R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr. in the New York Sun, December 15, 2006

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "asseverate" means "to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult"? The answer is ...


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