Performative verbs are verbs that, once uttered, `do' something, such as confer a status or commit the speaker to some action, expectation, or outcome. English verbs like `pronounce (someone) married)', `promise', `swear, take an oath', `order' etc. are performative in that they have legal, ritual, ceremonial, and other consequences. Especially when preceded by `hereby', they are irrevocable in the sense that they commit the speaker to some outcome.

Vasu Renganathan
Sat Nov 2 21:16:08 EST 1996