Weekly Word: Posit

I’ve been reading a lot of scholarly journals lately for a school research paper, and I keep running across the word posit, as in “the first hypothesis posits that…” The verb to posit simply means “to place” or “to put”. More specifically, it also means “to lay down or assume as a fact or principle” or “to put forward, as for consideration or study”.

Even though posit comes straight from the Latin word ponere, “to place or to put”, I’ve never seen anyone use posit in that literal sense. You don’t posit a book on your desk; you just put it on your desk. For whatever reason, the word posit is only used in the figurative sense: “posit an opinion”, “posit a theory”, or “posit a solution”.

The word posit may not come up too often, but it’s related to the words position, posture, deposit, depot, repository, suppository, suppose, and more. Those words don’t have that much in common, but if you think about it, they all involve the concept of place, placement, or putting something somewhere (either literally or figuratively).