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Word of the Day
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Definitions for paraph

  1. a flourish made after a signature, as in a document, originally as a precaution against forgery.

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Citations for paraph
Between you and me pivotal affinities occlude such petty tics as my constant distinctive signature with its unforgeable paraph ... Joseph McElroy, Ancient History: A Paraphrase, 1971
[Frédéric] Chopin signed in a compact and bold hand. His signature exhibits choppy letter construction and is typically finished off with a bold paraph. Ron Keurajian, Collecting Historical Autographs, 2017
Origin of paraph
A paraph is the flamboyant flourish at the end of a signature to prevent forgery. The most famous and perhaps only paraph familiar to modern Americans is the one at the end of John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence. Paraph comes from Middle French paraphe or paraffe “abbreviated signature,” which is either a shortening of Late Latin paragraphus “a short horizontal line below the beginning of a line and marking a break in the sense,” or Medieval Latin paraphus “a flourish at the end of a signature.” Paraph entered English in the late 14th century.
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