The Meaning of Affiant: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever wondered what the meaning of the word affiant is? This article will provide you with all of the info you need on the word affiant, including its definition, usage, origin, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word affiant mean?

According to Your Dictionary, an affiant, pronounced “əˈfaɪənt” is a person who makes a sworn statement called an affidavit. This is a legal term that is used to refer to someone who gives a testimony to the police, a witness who makes a statement, or any other person who makes an affidavit.

According to Legal Zoom, an affidavit is a general term for a legal document containing a  sworn factual statement that is used in a wide variety of different legal proceedings. In a courtroom, a lawyer might tell a witness that they are verbally under oath. An affidavit is simply the written statement version of swearing under oath that one will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The affidavit is signed by both the person making the statement – the affiant – as well as a person like a notary public, government officer, or court officer who is legally authorized to administer such an oath. If the affiant signs and affidavit that contains lies or other false information they can be subject to criminal penalties. Because of this, it is important that the affiant reads the document very carefully and ensures anything that is a belief or opinion is stated as such. The affidavit should contain information that is to the best of the individual witness’ personal knowledge, or they may be at penalty of perjury if they make a false statement.

An affidavit is split into four different parts. The first is the statement that the affiant is swearing to. The second is the information that is being sworn to. The third is the affiant’s signature, and the fourth is the authorized official’s attestation that the form has been completed by the affiant. An affidavit can be used for many different reasons. There are court affidavits, in which a witness uses an affidavit in lieu of appearing in court. There is also a self-proving will affidavit, in which the signature of a person who is making their will is notarized to prove that the will is valid. There is what’s known as an affidavit power of attorney, in which someone signs over the authority for another person to act on their behalf. There are also affidavits of financial nature, or lost documents, and of identity theft. 

What is the etymology of the word affiant?

According to Merriam-Webster, the word affiant likely stems from the word “affiance,” which is an archaic word that means trust or confidence. Etymonline states that the word affiance was invented in the 1520s and means “to promise.” This word came from the Old French afiancier, which means to pledge, promise, or give one’s word. This came from the word afiance, which meant confidence or trust, as well as the word afier or affier, which is a verb meaning “to trust.” This came from the Late Latin affidare, from the prefix ad meaning “to” and fidare, meaning “to trust.” Fidare came from fidus, meaning “faithful.”

What are synonyms for the word affiant?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word affiant. These are called synonyms. Synonyms are words that mean the same thing and have the same definition as a given word or phrase. One might choose to use a synonym to expand their vocabulary or to avoid repeating themselves. The below list of synonyms if provided by Thesaurus.

  • attester
  • deponent
  • attestor
  • declarant
  • testifier
  • deposer
  • attestant

How can the word affiant be used in a sentence?

The word affiant can be used to refer to the person who is signing an affidavit. The other person who signs of on an affidavit is considered an authorized official. The below is an example of a situation in which one might be referred to as an affiant. In the below example, Jake and Paula are signing their divorce proceedings and have hired a notary public to notarize their affidavit.

Notary Public: Jake, Paula, you can both sign on the last line where it says “affiant” next to your name. This states that all of the above is true – that you are the applicant in the divorce case, there is no chance of reconciliation, and that all of the information below about your marriage is correct. Make sure to look this over carefully before signing.

Jake: I’ll look it over.

Paula: I am perfectly capable of looking over a legal document, I’m a lawyer, Jake.

Jake: Fine, then you do it. You can just do everything.

Paula: I already do.

Notary Public: Well, it looks like at least the “no chance of reconciliation” section is correct…

In this example, the notary public – who is considered the authorized official – instructs Jake and Paula to sign where the form tells the affiant to sign so that they can begin the divorce proceedings. He also makes sure to tell =Jake and Paula to read the form carefully.

Overall, the word affiant is used to refer to a person who is signing an affidavit. This signature states that the information contained in the affidavit is correct to the best of the affiant’s knowledge. An affidavit can be used in many different situations including in court in place of a witness’ appearance, in divorce proceedings, property disputes, or debt cases. In an affidavit, one must recount the facts and events exactly as they happened, according to Rocket Lawyer.

Sources:

  1. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/affiant
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affiant
  3. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affiance#etymology
  4. https://www.etymonline.com/word/affiance#etymonline_v_26046
  5. https://www.yourdictionary.com/affiant
  6. https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/what-is-an-affidavit-and-how-is-it-used
  7. https://www.rocketlawyer.com/gb/en/quick-guides/affidavits