March 28, 2016
perpetrate (verb)
\PER-puh-trayt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to be guilty of doing : commit
How do you use it?
After a lengthy investigation, the police are confident that they have arrested the person who perpetrated the crime.
Are you a word wiz?

History is filled with stories of crimes perpetrated by guilty parties. Which of these crimes was committed around the same time that the word "perpetrate" first entered English?

You've done no wrong in picking answer A. The earliest known uses of the word "perpetrate" in English appeared in the early to mid-1500s, during the prematurely shortened life of Alessandro de' Medici of the famous Medici family of Florence. "Perpetrate" traces to the Latin verb "perpetrare," from the combination of "per-" ("through") and "patrare" ("to accomplish"). "Patrare" traces back further to Latin "pater," meaning "father." In Latin, "perpetrare" could mean doing something good or bad, but its English offspring "perpetrate" has a mainly negative connotation.
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