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November 20, 2019

Word of the Day: Peradventure

2 CQ

Word of the Day : February 9, 2017

peradventure \PER-ud-ven-cher\ noun


1 : doubt

2 : the possibility of a particular outcome in an uncertain situation : chance


"When Henry had his servant brought to him from Argentan more dead than alive, he suffered an Angevin fury. But he knew beyond peradventure that the rebellion had been reborn." — Amy Kelly, Eleanor of Aquitane and the Four Kings, 1950

"For parties in terminal decline to consign themselves to howling at the moon for five years will guarantee beyond peradventure that when the next election comes round people will be truly fed up listening to the noise." — Brian Feeney, The Irish News, 11 May 2016

Did You Know?

When Middle English speakers borrowed par aventure from Anglo-French (in which language it means, literally, "by chance"), it was as an adverb meaning "perhaps" or "possibly." Before long, the word was anglicized to peradventure, and turned into a noun as well. The adverb is now archaic, though Washington Irving and other writers were still using it in the 19th century. "If peradventure some straggling merchant ... should stop at his door with his cart load of tin ware....," writes Irving in A History of New York. The noun senses we use today tend to show up in the phrase "beyond peradventure" in contexts relating to proving or demonstrating something. The "chance" sense is usually used in the phrase "beyond peradventure of doubt."

Aired February 9, 2017

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