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I have come across this word in a book; it gives the example:

If a layman says “I now pronounce you man and wife,” it doesn't make the couple husband and wife.

But when the same words are spoken by a priest, it makes them husband and wife.

The word possibly starts with either "i" or "l".

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    They're performative verbs (this question might be a dup of the one I linked to there). The only reason it makes a difference whether a priest or a layman speaks your cited example is because some people wouldn't recognise the authority of anyone except a priest to marry people. But anyone could say I promise [something], in which case the act of saying it is the same thing as the act of promising itself. – FumbleFingers Aug 13 '18 at 16:59
  • @FumbleFingers Isn't OP looking for a word? My suggestion is wrong? – Ubi hatt Aug 13 '18 at 17:08
  • Thanks for the answer. It is the word I am looking for. I love the forum :) – Wai Yan Aug 13 '18 at 17:40
  • alrighty then! answers provided. question closed! – lbf Aug 13 '18 at 22:00
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    In my opinion the example sentence "I now pronounce you man and wife" has the same meaning regardless of who says it, but it has a different effect depending on whether the speaker is legally empowered to conduct weddings. – nnnnnn Aug 9 at 15:36
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In the case of the priest saying the words, the priest is empowered to give them special weight and significance.

From Merriam-Webster's definition of empower:

1 : to give official authority or legal power to
// empowered her attorney to act on her behalf

So:

The priest empowered the words "I now pronounce you husband and wife."
The priest was empowered to make the everyday phrase spiritually and legally binding.


Alternatively, if it really is a word that has to start with i, then the priest imbues the words with special significance.

From Merriam-Webster's definition of imbue:

1 : ENDOW sense 3
// Spanish missions imbue the city with Old World charm
— Scott Pendleton

Endow sense 3
: to provide with something freely or naturally
// endowed with a good sense of humor

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