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Jun 3, 2015
This week’s theme
There is a word for it

This week’s words
sinecure
pathography
performative
stridulate
mala fide

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

performative

PRONUNCIATION:
(puhr-FOR-muh-tiv)

MEANING:
adjective: Relating to a statement that functions as an action by the fact of its being uttered.

NOTES:
Some examples of performative utterances are I promise, I apologize, I bet, I resign, etc. By saying I promise a person actually performs the act of promising.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Old French parfournir, from par (through) + fournir (to furnish). Earliest documented use: 1922.

USAGE:
“I lost count of the scenes in which Gwen and Peter thrash out the question of whether they should be a couple, and there is a sigh of relief in the cinema when she, deploying what philosophers would call a performative utterance, says simply, ‘I break up with you.’”
Anthony Lane; Trouble Calls; The New Yorker; May 5, 2014.

See more usage examples of performative in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is nothing more dangerous than a government of the many controlled by the few. -Lawrence Lessig, professor and political activist (b. 3 Jun 1961)

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