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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — forsooth

September 23, 2012

Word of the Day

  • forsooth
  • audio pronunciation
  • \fer-SOOTH\


: in truth : indeed — often used to imply contempt or doubt

"Yes, forsooth, I will hold my tongue; so your face bids me, though you say nothing." — From Shakespeare's King Lear, Act I, Scene iv

"Forsooth, your kids aren't into Shakespeare? They will be once they see the Rebel Shakespeare Company." — From an article by Elizabeth Gehrman in The Boston Globe, April 22, 2012


Although it is still a part of the English language, "forsooth" is now primarily used in humorous or ironic contexts, or in a manner intended to play off the word's archaic vibe. "Forsooth" is formed from the combination of the preposition "for" and the noun "sooth." "Sooth" survives as both a noun (meaning "truth" or "reality") and an adjective (meaning "true," "sweet," or "soft"), though it is rarely used by contemporary speakers. It primarily lives on in English in the verb "soothe" (which originally meant "to show, assert, or confirm the truth of") and in the noun "soothsayer" (that is, "truthsayer"), a name for someone who can predict the future.

From Merriam-Webster Online at

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.