\ ˈōth How to pronounce oath (audio) \
plural oaths\ ˈōt͟hz How to pronounce oaths (audio) , ˈōths \

Definition of oath

1a(1) : 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
(2) : a solemn attestation of the truth or inviolability of one's words The witness took an oath to tell the truth in court.
b : something (such as a promise) corroborated by an oath They were required to swear an oath of loyalty. took the oath of office
2 : an irreverent or careless use of a sacred name broadly : swear word He uttered an oath and stormed away.

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Examples of oath in a Sentence

an oath to defend the nation He uttered an oath and walked away.
Recent Examples on the Web As in previous elections, the secretary of the state’s office issued a stern warning about voter intimidation, stating that anyone who issues a challenge at a polling station must do so under oath. Michael Hamad, courant.com, "‘Army for Trump:’ Connecticut Republicans, following White House lead, ask for volunteers to help 'secure our election’," 10 Oct. 2020 Please keep the documents coming for the public to see, and the parties testifying under oath. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "James Comey Can’t Recall," 7 Oct. 2020 After months of delays, President Trump’s son Eric was questioned under oath on Monday as part of a civil investigation by New York’s attorney general into whether the Trump family’s real estate company committed fraud. William K. Rashbaum, New York Times, "Eric Trump Finally Interviewed in N.Y. Fraud Inquiry," 5 Oct. 2020 After the president signs a document called a commission, the new Justice can take the oath of office. USA Today, "Supreme Court: How the nomination and confirmation processes work," 25 Sep. 2020 Justices serve six-year terms and cannot take the oath of office after reaching age 70. Jackie Borchardt, The Enquirer, "Ohio 2020 election: Who's running for the Ohio Supreme Court?," 1 Sep. 2020 These workers must take an oath before counting ballots, can't leave the area where absentee ballots are counted until after the polls close, and can't tell anyone the results of the absentee vote before polls close. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Here's how Michigan ensures your absentee ballot is secure," 3 Aug. 2020 In 2017, four pro-democracy legislators on the Council were disqualified for failing to take the oath of office properly. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Joshua Wong and 11 other activists banned from Hong Kong elections," 30 July 2020 His murder case was abruptly dropped after allegations that a Cook County prosecutor lied under oath. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Third trial of Jackie Wilson after allegations of torture at the hands of Burge ends stunningly, with judge turning ire toward prosecutors," 2 Oct. 2020

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

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First Known Use of oath

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

History and Etymology for oath

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

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Time Traveler for oath

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for oath

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oath.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oath. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for oath


How to pronounce oath (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of oath

: a formal and serious promise to tell the truth or to do something
old-fashioned : an offensive or rude word that is used to express anger, frustration, surprise, etc.


\ ˈōth How to pronounce oath (audio) \
plural oaths\ ˈōt͟hz , ˈōths \

Kids Definition of oath

1 : a solemn promise to tell the truth or do a specific thing
2 : an obscene or impolite word used to express anger or frustration


Medical Definition of oath

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Legal Definition of oath

1 : 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
2 : a promise (as to perform official duties faithfully) corroborated by an oath — compare perjury
under oath
: under a solemn and especially legal obligation to tell the truth (as when testifying)

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Comments on oath

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