peradventure

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Middle English peraventure, from Old French par aventure. Spelling modified as though from Latin.

Adverb[edit]

peradventure (not comparable)

  1. (archaic) Perchance or maybe; perhaps; supposing.
    • 1554, John Knox, A Godly Letter of Warning or Admonition to the Faithfull in London, Newcastle, and Berwick:
      For be God the Propheit was commandit to stand in the entress of the Lordis house, and to speik to all the cieties of Juda that come to wirschip in the house of the Lord; and was commandit to keip no word aback, gif peradventure, sayeth the Lord, thay will herkin and turne everie man frome his wickit way.
    • c. 1604, William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act IV, Scene 6,[1]
      Besides, he tells me that, if peradventure
      He speak against me on the adverse side,
      I should not think it strange;
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Genesis 18:24,[2]
      Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
    • 1651, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, London: Andrew Crooke, Part I, Chapter 13, p. 63,[3]
      It may peradventure be thought there was never such a time nor condition of warre as this; and I believe it was never generally so, over all the world; but there are many places, where they live so now.

Noun[edit]

peradventure (plural peradventures)

  1. Chance, doubt or uncertainty.
    • 1716, Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, 2nd edition edited by Samuel Johnson, London: J. Payne, 1756, Part I, p. 16,[4]
      Covetousness cracks the sinews of faith; numbs the apprehension of any thing above sense; and only affected with the certainty of things present, makes a peradventure of things to come []
    • 1800, William R. Thayer, “Woman Suffrage, Pro and Con,” The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 65, page 310,[5]
      By his death Bruno did not prove that his convictions are true, but he proved beyond peradventure that he was a true man; and by such from the beginning has human nature been raised towards that ideal nature which we call divine.