forswear

verb for·swear \ fȯr-ˈswer \
variants: or less commonly
|Updated on: 16 Jul 2018

Definition of forswear

forswore play \fȯr-ˈswȯr\; forsworn play \fȯr-ˈswȯrn\; forswearing
1 : to make a liar of (oneself) under or as if under oath
2 a : to reject or renounce under oath
b : to renounce earnestly
3 : to deny under oath
: to swear falsely

forswear was our Word of the Day on 10/17/2014. Hear the podcast!

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.

Recent Examples of forswear from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'forswear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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.

Origin and Etymology of forswear

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

Synonym Discussion of forswear

abjure, renounce, forswear, recant, retract mean to withdraw one's word or professed belief. abjure implies a firm and final 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

forswear

Definition of forswear for English Language Learners

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


Law Dictionary

forswear

verb for·swear \ fōr-ˈswar \

legal Definition of forswear

forswore play \-ˈswōr\; forsworn play \-ˈswōrn\; forswearing
1 : to reject, renounce, or deny under oath
2 : to renounce earnestly
: to swear falsely : commit false swearing


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up forswear? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

resembling the blue of the sky

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!