as it were

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Perhaps a truncation of "as it were so"; or, more likely, using an obsolete sense of were meaning "would be" (i.e. as it would be).


as it were

  1. used to indicate that a word or statement is perhaps not exact though practically right.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Numbers 23:22:
      God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
    • 1884, Edwin Abbott Abbott, Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions,
      Yet so strong is the parental ambition among those Polygons who are, as it were, on the fringe of the Circular class, that it is very rare to find a Nobleman of that position in society, who has neglected to place his first-born in the Circular Neo-Therapeutic Gymnasium before he has attained the age of a month.