perjury

noun
per·​ju·​ry | \ ˈpər-jə-rē How to pronounce perjury (audio) , ˈpərj-rē\

Definition of perjury

: the voluntary violation of an oath or vow either by swearing to what is untrue or by omission to do what has been promised under oath : false swearing

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Did You Know?

The prefix per- in Latin often meant "harmfully". So witnesses who perjure themselves do harm to the truth by knowingly telling a lie. Not all lying is perjury, only lying under oath; so perjury generally takes place either in court or before a legislative body such as Congress. To avoid committing perjury, a witness or defendant may "take the Fifth": that is, refuse to answer a question because the answer might be an admission of guilt, and the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution forbids forcing a citizen to admit to being guilty of a crime.

Examples of perjury in a Sentence

He was found guilty of perjury.

Recent Examples on the Web

And he’s been convicted of perjury before Congress. Dara Lind, Vox, "Michael Cohen’s joke about Hillary Clinton going to prison seems awfully ironic now," 12 Dec. 2018 Two players — Modric, the captain, and Dejan Lovren, a defender — have been accused of perjury in the case of Zdravko Mamic, the former president of the Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Belgium’s Blueprint, Croatia’s Chaos, and the Murky Path to World Cup Glory," 10 July 2018 In keeping with his stoic behavior throughout the three-week trial, Woewiyu sat stone-faced as the jury forewoman read out 11 guilty verdicts to counts including perjury and attempting to fraudulently obtain U.S. citizenship. Kelly Brennan, Philly.com, "Delco man convicted of hiding past as Liberian war criminal," 3 July 2018 Granted, those were perjury criminal cases whereas Armstrong’s is a qui tam civil case. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Was It the Right Decision for Lance Armstrong to Settle in His Lawsuit With the U.S. Government?," 21 Apr. 2018 Witnesses in courts and congressional hearings are threatened with potentially brutal cross-examinations and with up to five years in prison for perjury. Richard B. Mckenzie, WSJ, "A Stumble Down Memory Lane," 24 Sep. 2018 Vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and the apparent heir to the entire chaebol, Jay Y. Lee, was released from prison in February after winning an appeal following his conviction of perjury, embezzlement, and bribery. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Samsung," 26 Dec. 2018 Dowless, who served prison time in 1995 for felony fraud and was convicted of felony perjury in 1992, has worked on get-out-the-vote efforts for various local and legislative candidates through the years. Gary D. Robertson, The Seattle Times, "Ballot fraud investigation muddies North Carolina election," 4 Dec. 2018 USA Today reports that Dolezal/Diallo is charged with first-degree theft by welfare fraud, making false verification and second-degree perjury. Angela Helm, The Root, "Rachel Dolezal Booked and Released From Jail on Welfare Fraud Charges," 4 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perjury.' 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 perjury

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for perjury

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perjury

The first known use of perjury was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for perjury

perjury

noun

English Language Learners Definition of perjury

law : the crime of telling a lie in a court of law after promising to tell the truth

perjury

noun
per·​ju·​ry | \ ˈpər-jə-rē How to pronounce perjury (audio) \
plural perjuries

Legal Definition of perjury

: the act or crime of knowingly making a false statement (as about a material matter) while under oath or bound by an affirmation or other officially prescribed declaration that what one says, writes, or claims is true — compare false swearing

History and Etymology for perjury

Anglo-French perjurie parjurie, from Latin perjurium, from perjurus deliberately giving false testimony, from per- detrimental to + jur- jus law

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Comments on perjury

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