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allegator

Printable Version Pronunciation: æ-lê-gay-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: Allegator comes from a synonym of allege: to allegate. The latter rarely rises to the surface of conversation but it does exist. It has an interesting personal noun, allegator, that indicates the doer of the deed. Even if it is rarer than alleger, it certainly has more potential for play, given its homophone, alligator.

In Play: 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 made up the whole story about me putting the frog in the water cooler." 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 word cast a much more powerful beam than calling Billy a commonplace liar?

Word History: This word is a creation from Latin allegat(us), the past participle of the verb allegare "to send off, relate, recount". The verb comprises ad- "(up)to" + legare "to appoint, assign". So, the prefix al- here is really ad-, whose consonant becomes like any other consonant to which it is attached (arrest, attest, and adduce also contain a hidden ad-). The primitive root, leg-/log-, gave us Latin lex, legis "law" and Greek logos "speech, word, idea". 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 and his subjects were as good as their word.

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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