The word "fortasse" (meaning 'perhaps') looks like it's two words squished together, but I can't find any etymology for it. Does anyone know where fortasse comes from?

1 Answer 1


It comes from forte "perhaps", which seems to be from the ablative of fors "chance, luck" (Proto-Indo-European root *bʰr-ti- 'bearing, case'). That in turn is derived from the same root as fero "to bring" (Proto-Indo-European *bʰer-e/o- 'to carry', De Vaan s.v.).

De Vaan s.v. fors:

PIE *bʰr-ti- 'bearing, case'? IE cognates: see s.v.ferō

The origin of fortasse seems to be *forte an sīt/s, but the phonetics (especially the short final vowel) are unclear.

Forte an sit would mean something like "[it is] chance whether that is [so]". Cf. forsitan, fortassean.

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