top of page

Idiom: Dare Say

Defining "dare say" usage in the Georgian era

What sort of character do you imagine when you read, “Oh, I dare say…”?

While the term itself has been around since the 14th century, the meaning was different than what we see in the Georgian era, which is how we still use it today. In the 14th century, it meant “to venture” or “to assert” but in the Georgian era, it meant “to assume as probable.”

“I dare say she will enjoy the ball.”

The correct usage is dare say, two words, not daresay, as you might see it from time to time. Times change and usage changes, but our heroes and heroines of the Georgian era would have spoken and written this as two separate words.

Interestingly, throughout its life and even in the Georgian era, there was a past tense conjugation: “durst say.”

Prior to the Georgian era, we might see other variations and tenses, but none made it to the Georgian era, such as daresaid, daresayed, dessayed, daredsay, dast said, dasn’t said, and dar seie.

bottom of page