Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 14, 2020 is:
purport per-PORT verb
“One study at M.I.T. purported to show that the subway was a superspreader early in the pandemic, but its methodology was widely disputed.” — Christina Goldbaum, The New York Times, 2 Aug. 2020
“To support his applications, Hayford provided lenders with fraudulent payroll documentation purporting to establish payroll expenses that were, in fact, nonexistent.” — editorial, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 7 Aug. 2020
Did you know?
The verb purport may be more familiar nowadays, but purport exists as a noun that passed into English from Anglo-French in the 15th century as a synonym of gist. Sir Walter Scott provides us with an example from his 19th-century novel Rob Roy: “I was a good deal mortified at the purport of this letter.” Anglo-French also has the verb purporter (meaning both “to carry” and “to mean”), which combines the prefix pur- (“thoroughly”) and the verb porter (“to carry”). In its original English use, the verb purport meant “to signify”; the “to profess or claim” sense familiar to modern English speakers didn’t appear until the 17th century.