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"Perfay, int." - Word of the Day from the OED

OED Online Word of the Day

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Your word for Wednesday 27th June is: perfay, int.

† perfay, int.
[‘By my faith; truly; indeed, certainly; cf. fay n.1 6b.’]
Forms: α.   ME par fai,   ME parfai,   ME par fay,   ME par faye,   ME par fey,   ME parfey,   ME parfeye,   ME parfoy,   ME–15 parfay.  β.    ME perfey,   ME perfeye,   ME perfoy,   ME profay transmission error,   ME–15 (18 arch.perfay,   15 perfaye,   15 per fey;   Sc.  pre-17 perfai,   pre-17 perfaye,   pre-17 perfey,   pre-17 purfeye,   pre-17 (18 arch.perfay,   18 per fay arch.;   N.E.D.  (1905) also records a form  lME per fey
Origin: A borrowing from French. Etymons: French par fei, par foi.
Etymology: <  Anglo-Norman par fei and Old French par foi (second half of the 12th cent.; Middle French par foy, Middle French, French par foi) <  par by (see per prep.) + foi faith (see foy n.1).
Earlier currency is perhaps suggested by a surname or nickname, Ad. Parfay (1246), although it is unclear whether this should be interpreted as reflecting the Anglo-Norman or the Middle English word.


N.E.D.  (1905) gives the pronunciation as (pəɹfēi·) /pəˈfeɪ/.
 Obsolete (arch. and poet. in later use).
  By my faith; truly; indeed, certainly; cf. fay n.1 6b.
Apparently unattested in the 17th and 18th centuries, perfay was revived in archaic and poetic use in the 19th cent.
c1300 St. John Evangelist(Laud) 205 in  C. Horstmann Early S.-Eng. Legendary(1887) 408 (MED) Par fey..nov ichulle herkni þe.
c1330 Sir Orfeo(Auch.) (1966) 315 ‘Parfay,’ quaþ he, ‘Þer is fair game’.
c1390  Chaucer Miller's Tale  3681 Som maner confort shal I haue parfay.
?c1450 Life St. Cuthbert(1891) 7838 Þai Did mare harme þan gude parfay.
1489 (1380)  J. Barbour Bruce(Adv.) i. 39 The land sex ȝer and mayr perfay Lay desolat eftyr hys day.
c1540 Image Ipocrysy  iii, in  J. Skelton Poet. Wks.  408 And then, my lordes, perfay..Not all your gold so gay..Shall serve youe to delaye.
1570  P. Levens Manipulus Vocabulorum  sig. Qiiv/1 Parfay, medius fideus.
1802  J. Leyden Ld. Soulis  in  Scott Minstrelsy Sc. Border  II. 341 Lovely May deserves, per fay, A brideman such as thee!
1865  A. C. Swinburne Masque Queen Bersabe  in Poems & Ballads  1st Ser. 117 This knave hath sharp fingers perfay.
1870  W. Morris Earthly Paradise  I. i. 338 Perfay all goeth more than right.

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