Claude Lanzmann, who has realized, aesthetically, the experience of the death camps through the bearing of witness—and, in the process, has sought to define what might even constitute an image of the murder of European Jews at the hands of the Nazis Source

What does this "even" mean here and what is its impact on the meaning of this sentence?

  • 1
    It's a very long noun phrase, not a sentence. (In the link you've provided, it's part of a complete sentence.)
    – user230
    Jan 14, 2014 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


The word "even" in this sense means that something is unexpected or extreme but is nevertheless true or possible. It is often used with a conditional word, like "might even" or "may even".

So for example you might say, "Jack is tall. He may EVEN be over six feet." Or, "We welcome all nationalities in our club. We even accept French people."

  • But in this context it doesn't make sense
    – user2492
    Jan 14, 2014 at 17:46
  • The writer is saying that "the bearing of witness ... might even constitute an image of the murder". That is, we would not normally expect such testimony to be this kind of image, but in this case it is.
    – Jay
    Jan 14, 2014 at 17:51
  • But the subject is not that but "Claude"
    – user2492
    Jan 14, 2014 at 17:52
  • 2
    @birdman The subject of the verbgroup might constitute is what, not Claude. Jan 14, 2014 at 18:37
  • 2
    @birdman What here is the head of a free relative clause - understand it as something which Jan 15, 2014 at 13:13

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