Wednesday Word for January 22, 2020

Today’s word comes from a random word generator.

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Today’s Word

Part of Speech



  1. The willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry.
  2. The act of swearing to a statement known to be false.
  3. False swearing.


The first known use of the word perjury in English was in the 14th century; it stems from the French perjurie first used in the late 13th century.

“The prefix per- in Latin often meant “harmfully.” So witnesses who perjure themselves do harm to the truth by knowingly telling a lie. Not all lying is perjury, only lying under oath; so perjury generally takes place either in court or before a legislative body such as Congress. To avoid committing perjury, a witness or defendant may “take the Fifth”: that is, refuse to answer a question because the answer might be an admission of guilt, and the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution forbids forcing a citizen to admit to being guilty of a crime.”

Usage and Examples

Here are a few examples:

  1. John Wilkins sat on the witness stand, torn between committing perjury to save his family and telling the truth to protect the innocent.
  2. “Silver, if we both get out alive out of this wolf-trap, I’ll do my best to save you, short of perjury.”
    “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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