Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#17322 - 01/27/01 04:45 PM Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
Rapunzel Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 328
Loc: Eastern Pennsylvania
I have long wondered about the difference in meaning or usage of the words offer and proffer. My Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary hasn't given me a satisfactory answer, so I thought one of you might be able to. Any takers?


Top
#17323 - 01/27/01 05:54 PM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
Anonymous
Unregistered


i'm thinking that perhaps the pronoun "pro" or "pr-" lends connotations of action to the root 'offer'; meaning specifically "to offer forth". Proffer is commonly used in the legal field, for example when plaintiffs proffer hypotheses or case citations to support their claims. "Offer" has more generalized usage; you can "offer" to help someone carry something, but cannot "proffer" to do so (but now that i'm thinking about it, i suppose one could reasonably proffer an offer of assistance). OTOH, i think it's equally correct to "offer" an argument or to "proffer" one, but proffering carries a more aggressive, or active tone.



bridget=)

Ipsa scientia potestas est ~Bacon

Top
#17324 - 01/28/01 02:31 PM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
Rapunzel Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 328
Loc: Eastern Pennsylvania
Makes sense to me, bridget! I proffer you my thanks.


Top
#17325 - 01/29/01 11:09 AM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
This sounds right to me too, bridget96. But specifically doesn't proffer carry a sense of 'social diffidence' - an offer that is made out of politeness or some other such constraint?


Top
#17326 - 01/29/01 12:35 PM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
Anonymous
Unregistered


But specifically doesn't proffer carry a sense of 'social diffidence' - an offer that is made out of politeness or some other such constraint?


Good point, maverick... it occurred to me only as i was reading your post that 'proffer' generally denotes a measure of respect or humility (either genuine, or - in the case of the legal field - [court]imposed diffidence) on the part of the offerer for the person to whom the proffer is being submitted.

bridget=)

Ipsa scientia potestas est ~Bacon

Top
#17327 - 01/29/01 01:11 PM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
mav asked of proffer an offer that is made out of politeness or some other such constraint?

Wow, how fascinating. While I grasp, and agree with, the sense of proffer you mention, the idea of politeness as a form of constraint has almost never occurred to me. On reflection, I can see that there are times when it has an element of artifice and compulsion about it, yet, for the most part, it seems to me no more of a constraint than respiration.



Top
#17328 - 01/29/01 01:41 PM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
no more of a constraint than respiration

Now if only the world would march in step with you, Max...! I think that self-restraint grows from empathy too, though?


Top
#17329 - 01/29/01 02:50 PM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
Max Quordlepleen Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409
I think that self-restraint grows from empathy too, though?

Indubitably. Truth to tell, reading my post after it was sent made me feel slightly ill - the stench of self-righteous priggery was almost overwhelming.


Top
#17330 - 01/30/01 04:54 AM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
RhubarbCommando Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/23/00
Posts: 2204
doesn't proffer carry a sense of 'social diffidence'

I would agree with that, and, further, I believe"proffer" carries a connotation of direct transaction with a specified person or group. You can make an offer to the world in general - especially a "Special Offer - ends next Millennium - hurry and buy" - whereas you "proffer" something to someone in particular - "On behalf of the Misused Word Club, I would like to proffer our thanks to this evening's squeaker, Mrs Malaprop, for an entertaining and enlightening evening."


Top
#17331 - 01/30/01 07:30 AM Re: Can anyone offer/proffer me an answer?
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/15/00
Posts: 4757
direct transaction with a specified person or group

Yes, I agree with you Rhu - you've caught a good nuance there.


Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8728 Members
16 Forums
13805 Topics
214922 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
GrandmaCoo, ShellsnBells, charmingthemuse, toddster, Mussaf
8728 Registered Users
Who's Online
0 registered (), 28 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
LukeJavan8 116
endymion6 110
wofahulicodoc 82
jenny jenny 47
A C Bowden 46
Tromboniator 8
tsuwm 7
Bazr 7
FoFong 4
Dennis_Lees 1
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13803
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10521
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
AnnaStrophic 6511
LukeJavan8 6427
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith