“Forthwith”—A Quaint Archaism

Methinks forthwith has as a fusty, moldy air about it. I wasn’t surprised to see it included, along with the likes of hither and mayhap, in this list of quaintly archaic words.

But lo and behold, forthwith was used in 502 contracts filed in the past month on the SEC’s EDGAR system, as compared with 1704 contracts using a more sensible word, promptly. Lawyers, quaintly archaic? Say it ain’t so!

But thank heavens for small mercies—no sign of hither and mayhap on EDGAR.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.