Today's Word "Allege"

To assert as true on

Published in Vocabulary

allege \eh-LEJ\ (verb) - To assert as true; to assert without providing proof.

"The suspected perpetrator of what police allege to be a crime has been suspended from the force pending further investigation."


Middle English "alleggen" from Old French alegier "to vindicate, justify." The history of today's word is interesting because the form of the word derives from Latin allegare but the meaning comes from from esligier "to pay a fine, justify oneself" from Late Latin *exlitigare "to legally clear" from ex "out (of)" + litigare "to sue." "Allegare" went on through French to become English "allay." Apparently the two were confused at some point and the prefix ex- was replaced by ad- (an-, am-, al-, ar-). The past participle, "alleged," is used so much more frequently than the verb that it has become an adjective unto itself meaning, "accused without proof." Even with this innovation, however, the word is often misused, especially in the media. While Nick Dalolli might be an alleged burglar, he did not commit an alleged burglarythe burglary must be conclusively proven if Nick is a suspect. The adverb "allegedly" never works. "Gertrude allegedly trained the suicide newts" does not mean that Gertrude trained the newts in an alleged manner but "It is alleged that Gertrude trained the newts." So that is what you should say. The noun, of course, is "allegation."



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