Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 29, 2020 is:

allege • uh-LEJ  • verb

1 : to assert without proof or before proving

2 : to bring forward as a reason or excuse


The lawsuit alleges that the company knew about the faulty switches but sold the product anyway.

“While the ACCC does not allege Mr Vassella was directly involved in formulating or carrying out the alleged price-fixing scheme, court documents filed by the regulator say he was briefed on the plans within a month of their launch, and given regular presentations on progress for at least the next six months.” — Eric Johnston, The Australian, 27 Dec. 2019

Did you know?

These days, someone alleges something before presenting the evidence to prove it (or perhaps without evidence at all), but the word actually derives from the Middle English verb alleggen, meaning “to submit (something) in evidence or as justification.” Alleggen, in turn, traces back to Anglo-French and probably ultimately to Latin allegare, meaning “to send as a representative” or “to offer as proof in support of a plea.” Indeed, allege once referred to the actions of someone who came forward to testify in court; this sense isn’t used anymore, but it led to the development of the current “assert without proof” sense.

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