plural oaths ˈōt͟hz How to pronounce oath (audio)
: a solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says
: a solemn attestation of the truth or inviolability of one's words
The witness took an oath to tell the truth in court.
: something (such as a promise) corroborated by an oath
They were required to swear an oath of loyalty.
took the oath of office
: an irreverent or careless use of a sacred name
broadly : swear word
He uttered an oath and stormed away.

Example Sentences

an oath to defend the nation He uttered an oath and walked away.
Recent Examples on the Web The couple was presented with royal regalia and anointed with holy oil, and the monarch swore an oath to uphold the law and the Church of England. Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 6 May 2023 In the second stage, King Charles will take his oath. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2023 Republican debt ceiling purists, who swore a blood oath never to raise the debt ceiling during the Obama presidency, rolled over during the Trump presidency. Charlie Dent, CNN, 23 Jan. 2023 Archbishop Welby hastened to clarify that the oath was purely voluntary. Mark Landler, New York Times, 11 May 2023 The oath After, King Charles will swear to uphold the law and the Church of England. Town & Country, 7 May 2023 Returning to his seat, Charles signed the coronation oaths. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 6 May 2023 During the service, Charles put his hand on the bible and took the coronation oath. Claire Parker, Washington Post, 6 May 2023 The monarch swears an oath to uphold both the law and the Church of England, and the Archbishop anoints the monarch with holy oil. Conor Murray, Forbes, 6 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oath.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English ooth, from Old English āth; akin to Old High German eid oath, Middle Irish oeth

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of oath was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near oath

Cite this Entry

“Oath.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oath. Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural oaths ˈōt͟hz How to pronounce oath (audio)
: a solemn appeal to God or to some deeply respected person or thing to witness to the truth of one's word or the sincerity of a promise
under oath to tell the truth
: a careless or improper use of a sacred name
also : swearword

Medical Definition


Legal Definition


: a solemn attestation of the truth of one's words or the sincerity of one's intentions
specifically : one accompanied by calling upon a deity as a witness
: a promise (as to perform official duties faithfully) corroborated by an oath compare perjury

More from Merriam-Webster on oath

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