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See also: Proffer and profer



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],[1] and then:

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],[3] 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))).[4] 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))).



proffer (plural proffers)

  1. An offer made; something proposed for acceptance by another; a tender.
    Synonym: proposition
    • c. 1580, Philip Sidney, “The Fifth Booke”, in Mary Sidney, editor, The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia [] [The New Arcadia], London: [] [John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, published 1593, 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: 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. [] (The Fair Maid of Perth), volume I, Edinburgh: [] [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.
    • 1886, George Bernard Shaw, chapter XIII, in Cashel Byron’s Profession. A Novel, London: The Modern Press, [], OCLC 903160, page 144:
      [H]ow, if you tell him this, will you make him understand that I say so as an act of justice, and not in the least as a proffer of affection?
    • 2015 December 29, Carol Vaughn, “Atlantic Town Center Lawsuit Goes before a Judge”, in Delmarva Now[1], 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.
  2. (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: [] 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, [...]
    • 1631, Francis [Bacon], “III. Century. [Experiment in Consort Touching the Imitation of Sound.]”, in Sylua Syluarum: Or A Naturall Historie. In Ten Centuries. [], 3rd edition, London: [] VVilliam Rawley; [p]rinted by J[ohn] H[aviland] for William Lee [], paragraph 236, page 64, OCLC 1044372886:
      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.

Alternative forms[edit]



proffer (third-person singular simple present proffers, present participle proffering, simple past and past participle proffered)

  1. (transitive, reflexive) To offer for acceptance; to propose to give; to make a tender of.
    to proffer friendship, a gift, or services
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To attempt or essay of one's own accord; to undertake or propose to undertake.


Alternative forms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ profre, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ proffer, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2007; “proffer, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  3. ^ profren, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  4. ^ proffer, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2007; “proffer, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

Further reading[edit]


Norwegian Bokmål[edit]


proffer m

  1. indefinite plural of proff