Word: corroborate

Pronunciation: kə-RAH-bə-rayt

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: confirm or give support to a statement, theory, or finding

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Continuing on the theme of scientific vocabulary, today’s word is one that comes up a lot in academic writing. When proving a hypothesis correct, researchers need to provide evidence that strongly supports their conclusions. Hence, it’s common to read statements in the results/discussion section of research papers claiming that Findings X “corroborate” Hypothesis Y. Because why use a general verb like “support” when you know a more specific term for research?

To “corroborate” a theory or statement is to provide evidence that supports or confirms it. The word arose in the mid 16th century in the sense “to make physically stronger” and comes from the Latin verb corroborare, meaning “to strengthen”. This verb stems from two roots: the adverb com “together” and the noun robur “strength”.

I haven’t encountered the word “corroborate” much outside of scientific contexts, but I still think it could work in fiction. A good example might be when one character needs to “corroborate” another’s story with an additional eyewitness account of events. If your characters often find themselves needing to prove a statement or theory true, you may want to write some evidence into your stories to “corroborate” their claims! Good luck!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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