The noun is derived from Middle English profre (“act of offering or presenting a gift; offer of something; challenge; sacrifice; act of petitioning or requesting; petition, request; proposal, suggestion; idea, thought; attempt, effort; appearance; (law) payment to the Exchequer by a sheriff or other officer of estimated revenue due to the monarch”) [and other forms], and then:
- partly from Late Latin profrum, proferum (“payment to the Exchequer of estimated revenue due to the monarch (also puruoffrus), offer to convict a criminal”), and from its likely etymon Anglo-Norman profre, proffre, porofre (“payment to the Exchequer of estimated revenue due to the monarch; offer, proposal”), and
- partly from the verb.
The verb is derived from Late Middle English prouffer, prouffre, Middle English profren, profer, proffere (“to offer, propose; to deliver, hand over, present; to take up; to volunteer; to dedicate; to attempt, try; to risk; to challenge; to provide; to ask, invite; to proceed, start; to grant; to argue”) [and other forms], from Anglo-Norman profrer, proferer, profferer, proffrir, propherer, proufrir, and Old French proferir, proffrir, profrir (“to offer, propose; to present; to volunteer”), variants of Anglo-Norman puroffrir and Middle French poroffrir, paroffrir, Old French poroffrir, paroffrir, porofrir, from por-, pur- (prefix meaning ‘to go through’ or having an intensifying effect) + offrir, ofrir (“to offer”) (modern French offrir (“to offer; to give as a gift; to open oneself up to (someone)”)). Offrir is derived from Vulgar Latin *offerīre, from Latin offerre, present active infinitive of offerō (“to offer, present; to exhibit, show; to expose; to cause, inflict; to consecrate, dedicate; to sacrifice”) (from ob- (prefix meaning ‘against; towards’) + ferō (“to bear, carry; to support; to endure; to bring forth; to put in motion; to move forward”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- (“to bear, carry”))).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɒfə(ɹ)/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈpɹɑfɚ/
Audio (GA) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɒfə(r)
- Hyphenation: prof‧fer
proffer (plural proffers)
- An offer made; something proposed for acceptance by another; a tender.
- Synonym: proposition
- 1593, Philip Sidney, “The Fifth Booke”, in H[ugh] S[anford], editor, The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia […] [The New Arcadia], London: Printed [by John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, OCLC 1049103286; republished in Albert Feuillerat, editor, The Last Part of The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia […] (Cambridge English Classics: The Complete Works of Sir Philip Sidney; II), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: At the University Press, 1922, OCLC 496012517, page 156:
- [T]heir own eies wilbe perhaps more curious judges, out of hearesay they may have builded many conceites, which I can not perchaunce wil not performe, then wil undeserved repentance be a greater shame and injurie unto me, then their undeserved proffer, is honour.
- 1828 May 15, [Walter Scott], chapter II, in Chronicles of the Canongate. Second Series. [...] In Three Volumes (The Fair Maid of Perth), volume I, Edinburgh: Printed [by Ballantyne and Co.] for Cadell and Co.; London: Simpkin and Marshall, OCLC 17487293, page 50:
- Her lips, man, her lips! and that's a proffer I would not make to every one who crosses my threshold. But, by good St Valentine, (whose holiday will dawn to-morrow,) I am so glad to see thee in the bonny city of Perth again, that it would be hard to tell the thing I could refuse thee.
- 2015 December 29, Carol Vaughn, “Atlantic Town Center Lawsuit Goes before a Judge”, in Delmarva Now, Salisbury, Md., archived from the original on 28 December 2019:
- He said a reversionary proffer – saying the property would revert to its prior zoning if certain benchmarks were not met by the developers – was brought up in a conceptual discussion in a pre-application meeting in May 2014 with the developers, but did not progress beyond that.
- (obsolete) An attempt, an essay.
- 1577, Raphaell Holinshed, “Queene Marie”, in The Laste Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande […], volume II, London: Imprinted for Iohn Hunne, OCLC 265432180, page 1725, column 2:
- [A]fter ſome reſiſtance with ſhotte and arrowes, and profer of onſet made by their horſemen, they were put to flight, [...]
- 1627, [Francis Bacon], “III. Century. [Experiment in Consort Touching the Imitation of Sound.]”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie: In Ten Centuries. […], London: Published after the authors death, by VVilliam Rawley; printed by I[ohn] H[aviland and Augustine Mathewes] for William Lee […], OCLC 1044242069; 3rd edition, London: Published […] by VVilliam Rawley; printed by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee […], 1631, OCLC 1044372886, paragraph 236, page 64:
- It is a Thing ſtrange in Nature, when it is attentiuely conſidered, How Children and ſome Birds, learne to imitate Speech. [...] It is true, that it is done with time, and by little and little, and with many Eſſayes and Proffers: But all this diſchargeth not the VVonder.
- (transitive, reflexive) To offer for acceptance; to propose to give; to make a tender of.
- to proffer friendship, a gift, or services
- 1607, [Barnabe Barnes], The Divils Charter: A Tragædie Conteining the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the Sixt. […], London: Printed by G[eorge] E[ld] for Iohn Wright, […], OCLC 1043018437, Act IV, scene iv:
- Cæſar in this hath offered like himſelfe, / He proffereth to preſerue your towne vntouch'd: / Your goods, your wiues, your liues, your liberties.
- 1665, [“Blind Harry”], chapter I, in The Life and Acts of the Most Famous and Valiant Champion, Sir William Wallace, Knight of Ellerslie, Maintainer of the Liberty of Scotland. […], Glasgow: Printed by Robert Sanders, […], OCLC 316473067, 6th book, page 105:
- Thou proffers me of thy wages to have: / I thee defy, power, and all the leave, / That helps thee here of thy ſtout nation.
- 1776, “Chap. XVII. Of Theft.”, in Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, transl., A Code of Gentoo Laws, or, Ordinations of the Pundits, […], London: [s.n.], OCLC 906287501, section II (Of the Fines for Open Theft), page 244:
- If a Man, proffering to ſell Grain for Seed, ſhould ſell Grain which is not fit for Seed, the Magiſtrate ſhall chaſtiſe him, and take a Fine according to the Offence.
- 1816, Thomas Malory, “How King Arthur, after that He had Achieved the Battle against the Romans, Entered into Almaine, and so into Italy”, in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The History of the Renowned Prince Arthur, King of Britain; with His Life and Death, and All His Glorious Battles. […] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for Walker and Edwards; […], OCLC 616084, page 171:
- Thou proud knight, what profferest thou me so boldly? here gettest thou no prey; thou mayest prove when thou wilt, for thou shalt be my prisoner, or thou depart.
- 1823, [James Fenimore Cooper], chapter II, in The Pioneers, or The Sources of the Susquehanna; a Descriptive Tale. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, New York, N.Y.: Published by Charles Wiley; J. Seymour, printer, OCLC 1076549695, page 24:
- The ministry proffered various civil offices, which yielded not only honour but profit; but he declined them all, with the chivalrous independence and loyalty that had marked his character through life.
- 1843, William H[ickling] Prescott, chapter III, in History of the Conquest of Mexico, with a Preliminary View of the Ancient Mexican Civilization. And the Life of the Conqueror, Hernando Cortes, volume I, author’s authorised edition, London: George Routledge and Sons, OCLC 929793366, book III (March to Mexico), page 153:
- They were to assure the strangers of a free passage through the country, and a friendly reception in the capital. The proffered friendship of the Spaniards was cordially embraced, with many awkward excuses for the past. The envoys were to touch at the Tlascalan camp on their way, and inform Xicotencatl of their proceedings. They were to require him, at the same time, to abstain from all further hostilities, and to furnish the white men with an ample supply of provisions.
- 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, “The Street”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299, page 37:
- And in August, high in air, the beautiful and bountiful horse-chestnuts, candelabra-wise, proffer the passer-by their tapering upright cones of congregated blossoms.
- 2011, Philippa Gregory, “Windsor Castle, Winter 1454”, in The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins’ War), London: Simon & Schuster, →ISBN:
- The queen rises up and takes Edward from me, and proffers the sleeping child to the king. He shrinks away. 'No, no. I don't want to hold it. Just tell me. Is this a girl or a boy?'
- (transitive, obsolete) To attempt or essay of one's own accord; to undertake or propose to undertake.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book II”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554, lines 423–426:
- [N]one among the choice and prime / Of thoſe Heav'n-warring Champions could be found / So hardie as to proffer or accept / Alone the dreadful voyage; [...]
- ^ “profre, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “proffer, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford: Oxford University Press, June 2007; “proffer, n.” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press.
- ^ “profren, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
- ^ “proffer, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford: Oxford University Press, June 2007; “proffer, v.” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press.
- proffer in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
- proffer in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- proffer at OneLook Dictionary Search