verb for·swear \fȯr-ˈswer\

Definition of forswear


play \-ˈswȯr\


play \-ˈswȯrn\


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make a liar of (oneself) under or as if under oath

  3. 2 a :  to reject or renounce under oath b :  to renounce earnestly

  4. 3 :  to deny under oath

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to swear falsely

Examples of forswear in a sentence

  1. She forswore her allegiance to the old regime.

  2. He foreswore cigarettes as his New Year's resolution.

Did You Know?

Forswear (which is also sometimes spelled foreswear) is the modern English equivalent of the Old English forswerian. It can suggest denial ("[Thou] would'st forswear thy own hand and seal" - John Arbuthnot, John Bull) or perjury ("Is it the interest of any man … to lie, forswear himself, indulge hatred, seek desperate revenge, or do murder?" - Charles Dickens, American Notes). But in current use, it most often has to do with giving something up, as in "the warring parties agreed to forswear violence" and "she refused to forswear her principles." The word abjure is often used as a synonym of forswear, though with less emphasis on the suggestion of perjury or betrayal of the beliefs that one holds dear.

Variants of forswear

less commonly


Origin and Etymology of forswear

Middle English forsweren, from Old English forswerian, from for- + swerian to swear

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of forswear

abjure, renounce, forswear, recant, retract mean to withdraw one's word or professed belief. abjure implies a firm rejecting or abandoning often made under oath <abjured the errors of his former faith>. renounce may carry the meaning of disclaim or disown <renounced abstract art and turned to portrait painting>. forswear may add an implication of perjury or betrayal <I cannot forswear my principles>. recant stresses the withdrawing or denying of something professed or taught <if they recant they will be spared>. retract applies to the withdrawing of a promise, an offer, or an accusation <the newspaper had to retract the story>.

FORSWEAR Defined for English Language Learners


verb for·swear \fȯr-ˈswer\

Definition of forswear for English Language Learners

  • : to promise to give up (something) or to stop doing (something)

Law Dictionary


verb for·swear \fōr-ˈswar\

Legal Definition of forswear


\-ˈswōr\ play


\-ˈswōrn\ play


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to reject, renounce, or deny under oath

  3. 2 :  to renounce earnestly

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to swear falsely :  commit false swearing

Seen and Heard

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a Mesopotamian temple tower

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