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

Synonyms for oath


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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 Public servants following their oath will not be deterred in representing all of the people who elected us. orlandosentinel.com, 7 Jan. 2022 Johnson was indicted in September on counts of violating her oath of office and hindering law enforcement. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 7 Jan. 2022 Due to a prior commitment, Zacharyasz was unable to attend the ceremony and took his oath earlier. Beth Mlady, cleveland, 7 Jan. 2022 As confetti continued to drift across Times Square, Adams recited his oath of office. Fox News, 2 Jan. 2022 As confetti drifted across Times Square, Adams recited his oath of office. Arkansas Online, 1 Jan. 2022 As confetti continued to drift across Times Square, Adams recited his oath of office. Time, 1 Jan. 2022 New York City’s incoming mayor, Eric Adams, took his oath in Times Square soon after the ball drop. Bobby Caina Calvan, USA TODAY, 1 Jan. 2022 Just Pursuit also serves as a memoir of a woman repeatedly torn between upholding her oath as a public servant and her lived experience as a Black woman and mother in the United States. Rachel King, Fortune, 1 Jan. 2022

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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Dictionary Entries Near oath

oat grass



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Statistics for oath

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Oath.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oath. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for oath



English Language Learners Definition of oath

: a formal and serious promise to tell the truth or to do something
: 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



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)

More from Merriam-Webster on oath

Nglish: Translation of oath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oath for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oath


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