July 02, 2008
conjure (verb)
\KAHN-jer\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : to beg earnestly or solemnly : beseech2 a : to call forth (as a spirit or a devil) as if by magic b : to produce as if by magic3 : to practice magic or magic tricks
How do you use it?
No one could quite figure out how Erin's mom was able to conjure up a delicious dinner on such short notice.
Are you a word wiz?

Let's see if you can conjure up the right answer to today's quiz. What do you think the root of "conjure" means?

It's no magic trick that answer B is the correct one. "Conjure" comes from the Latin verb "conjurare," which means "to join in taking an oath." It is produced by adding the prefix "con-," meaning "together," to "jurare," which means "to swear." Other words relating to law, including "jury" and "perjury" (which is the act of swearing the truth of something you know is untrue) also come from "jurare." In medieval times, a criminal wanting to save himself from punishment could "abjure the realm" by leaving town and swearing never to return.
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