Although similar in sound, many people mispronounce this word by changing the “t" sound to a “d." In line with traditional Latin spelling, the “t" in affidavit is pronounced just as it is in English. An affidavit is a sworn statement give by a person who has promised that the statement is true to the best of his/her knowledge. The affiant, or person giving the sworn statement, usually signs the statement with a witness present to verify that the affiant signing the statement is also the person offering the statement.
In addition to a witness, another person known as a notary public, also signs and seals the statement to ensure that the parties have adhered to standards necessary for the affidavit to be used by a court as evidence or for other purposes. Unless notarized, no statement may be issued to a court as evidence because the statement can always be claimed to be a work or fiction with no verification of its veracity. Giving false statements on an affidavit open the affiant up to perjury punishable just like a perjurer taking the stand as a witness in a court of law.
As a lesson in Latin grammar, affidavit is a great example of the formation of Latin’s Perfect tense. Latin’s perfect tense is synonymous with English’s Present Prefect tense which denotes actions in the past that happened once. This is in contrast to Latin Imperfect and English’s Simple Past tenses which indicate actions that were ongoing sometime prior to the present.
To form the Perfect tense, use the third principal part of the verb and add the person ending that indicates the person and number of the action desired. The word affidavit derives from the word affido (affidare, affidavit, affidatum) which literally means to “trust to" but is better translated as “to swear an oath." Affidavit is, therefore, the third-person singular perfect active indicative form of the word affido and can be translated as “he/she/it swore an oath" (or has sworn and oath). Notice that with the lack of noun to indicate the subject of the verb, the gender of the verb is unknown and can, therefore, be translated as either he, she, or it. In many legal texts, the phrase “he has sworn an oath" is given as the proper translation of affidavit. However, the Latin student knows better.