What's a derivation or rationalisation that helps to remember its meaning? I already understand and so ask NOT about the definition, which I want to dredge below. I heed the Etymological Fallacy.

deliverance = 1. {mass noun} The action of being rescued or set free

2. A formal or authoritative utterance

Etymonline only explains the first definition's etymology, the Old French origins of which make more sense to me, but what about the second? Feel free to improve this, accordant with this advice.

  • Look up delivery for the latter and you should be able to figure out the rest.
    – Robusto
    Jan 31, 2015 at 16:36
  • I don’t understand what exactly you mean by dredge here. Dredging usually refers to “[clearing] the bed of (a harbour, river, or other area of water) by scooping out mud, weeds, and rubbish with a dredge”, “[bringing] something unwelcome and forgotten or obscure to people’s attention”, or “[sprinkling] (food) with a powdered substance such as flour or sugar” (ODO). None of that seems particularly appropriate here… Jan 31, 2015 at 16:43
  • @Robusto So in the NED both deliverance and delivery have this obsoleted meaning of making a speech basically, or refer to the content thereof. I noted the sub-meaning of deliverance about a formal statement is not marked obsolete per se( 7b), that is in the 100y. old NED). The underlying question is most likely about obs. livery or why English also has the deliver meaning i.e. a pizza, whereas Fr. has livrer vs. dé-livrer (2). The formal utturance is fig. a specialized delivery of a speech.
    – user98955
    Jan 31, 2015 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


I think the sequence of meanings in the OED can help:

  1. The action of delivering or setting free, or fact of being set free

  2. (irrelevant)

  3. The action of giving up or yielding; surrender. Obs.

  4. The action of handing over, transferring, or delivering a thing to another; delivery. Obs.

  5. Sending forth, emission, issue, discharge.

  6. The action or manner of uttering words in speaking; utterance, enunciation, delivery. Obs.

  7. a. The action of reporting or stating something; that which is stated; statement, narration, declaration; b. An utterance; esp. of a formal character.

  • Despite its having two meanings, if you live in America you will likely never hear or see the second one. "Speech" is the common term for officially spoken words. We might say that someone "delivered" a speech, but not that they issued (or whatever one might do with) a "deliverance". Jan 31, 2015 at 17:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.