"As it were"

Posted by R. Berg on October 18, 2001

In Reply to: "As it were" posted by Lynque on October 18, 2001

: Can anyone translate this "phrase," as it were. I understand its use, but I am hard-pressed to come up with a translation.

"As it were" is short for "as if it were." The Oxford English Dictionary has the following definition for sense number 9 of "as":
Introducing a supposition, expressed by the subjunctive mood: As if, as though. (Archaic.)

And this is the OED's definition for sense 9c:
Esp. in "as it were": as if it were so, if one might so put it, in some sort: a parenthetic phrase used to indicate that a word or statement is perhaps not formally exact though practically right.