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The word proffer is derived from Anglo-French "por-", forth, and offrir, to offer.[1] The act of proffering involves making an offer prior to any formal negotiations.

In the context of a trial, to proffer (sometimes profer) means to offer evidence in support of an argument, or elements of an affirmative defense or offense. A party with the burden of proof must proffer sufficient evidence to carry that burden.

For example, in support of a particular argument, a party may proffer documentary evidence or witnesses.

Where a party is denied the right to introduce evidence because that evidence would be inflammatory, hearsay, or would lack sufficient authentication, that party must make a proffer of what the evidence would have shown in order to preserve the issue for appeal. Also; as in business, a proffer can be a sign of "good faith" a first offer or proposal, to show a willingness to "barter".

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  1. ^ "Definition of proffer from the Merriam-Webster dictionary". Retrieved 2009-08-25.