• allegator •
Pronunciation: æ-lê-gey-dêr • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: An alleger, someone who alleges, who claims something to be true, especially to make a claim without proof.
Notes: The verb, allege, has received considerable comment in the past. Aside from the frequent misuse of its past participle, alleged (the alleged bank-robber), it's action noun is allegation, with an unexpected -at- inserted. This noun comes from a synonym of to allege, namely, to allegate. This verb rarely rises to the surface of conversation but it does exist. It has an interesting agent noun, allegator, that indicates the doer of the action. Even if it is rarer than alleger, it is certainly more amusing for its homophone.
In Play: Hey, I'm telling the truth! Now when you are subjected to false allegations, you have a more emotionally charged word for your accusers: "Ben Downe is nothing but a cold-blooded allegator who will swallow whatever the opposition feeds him, then regurgitate it for the press on command." How's that for an image of your accuser? Around the house? Sure: "Mom, I am not picking on Billy; he is just an irresponsible allegator." Now, doesn't this Good Word cast a much more powerful beam than alleger?
Word History: Today's Good Word is a creation from Latin allegat(us), the past participle of the verb allegare "to send off; to relate, recount". The verb is made up of ad-'(up)to" + legare "to appoint, assign". So, the prefix al- is really ad- "(up) to", whose consonant assimilates to any other consonant to which it is attached (that is also it in arrest, attest, adduce). The root is that fascinating Proto-Indo-European root *leg-/log- which gave us Latin lex, legis "law" and Greek logos "speech, word, idea". (The Greek root also gave us lexicon, lexical, and Lexiteria!) The best guess as to how these two meanings crossed paths is that this root goes back to the day when a king's word was the law.