Word of the Day – Suborn

Word of the Day : September 7, 2021


verb suh-BORN

What It Means

Suborn means “to persuade (someone) to do something illegal (such as to lie in a court of law).” It can also mean “to obtain (false testimony) from a witness by persuasion.”

// The lawyer attempted to suborn the witness.

// The prosecutor was guilty of suborning false testimony.

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“Because suborning perjury is not a mistake, nor is suppressing evidence. These acts are intentional.” — Melinda Henneberger, The Kansas City Star, 13 Nov. 2020

Did you know?

Suborn is from Latin subornare, which translates literally as “to secretly furnish or equip.” The sub- that brings the “secretly” meaning to subornare more commonly means “under” or “below,” but it has its stealthy meaning in the etymologies of several other English words, including surreptitious (from sub- and rapere, meaning “to seize”) and the verb suspect (from sub- or sus- and specere, meaning “to look at”). The ornare (meaning “to furnish”) of subornare is also at work in the words ornateadorn, and ornament.