• ratify •
Pronunciation: ræ-dê-fai • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To officially approve, agree to, to finalize a rule, law, or agreement.
Notes: This word, which could mean "provide rats", really has the meaning above. Its noun is ratification and the adjective, meaning "confirmatory", is ratificatory, a word that is unknown to my spellchecker. You are free to use the present participle in the same sense, ratifying. The person who ratifies things is known as a ratifier.
In Play: This word is almost exclusively used in reference to governments: "Three-fourths of state legislatures are required to ratify an amendment to the US Constitution." However, it may be applied elsewhere: "As soon as his contract is ratified by the board, Perry Winkel will leave the ranks of the unemployed."
Word History: This word entered Middle English as ratifien, the English version of Old French ratifier, inherited from Medieval Latin ratificare "approve, ratify". The base of this word is ratus "fixed, confirmed", the past participle of reri "to consider, confirm" + -ficare, the combining form of facere "to make, do". Ratus was built upon the PIE root re- "to reason, count", a variant of ar- "to fit together" that we see in both senses of arm. Old English rædan "advise, interpret", today's read, traces its origin back to the same PIE word.