\ ˈswer How to pronounce swear (audio) \
swore\ ˈswȯr How to pronounce swear (audio) \; sworn\ ˈswȯrn How to pronounce swear (audio) \; swearing

Definition of swear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to utter or take solemnly (an oath)
2a : to assert as true or promise under oath a sworn affidavit swore to uphold the Constitution
b : to assert or promise emphatically or earnestly swore he'd study harder next time
3a : to put to an oath : administer an oath to
b : to bind by an oath swore them to secrecy
4 obsolete : to invoke the name of (a sacred being) in an oath
5 : to bring into a specified state by swearing swore his life away

intransitive verb

1 : to take an oath
2 : to use profane or obscene language : curse
swear by
: to place great confidence in swears by his mechanic
swear for
: to give assurance for : guarantee
swear off
: to vow to abstain from : renounce swear off smoking



Definition of swear (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from swear


swearer noun

Examples of swear in a Sentence

Verb He swore revenge on the killers. I swear to God, I'll kill him if he comes back. Don't swear in front of the children. I do solemnly swear to tell the whole truth. Noun I heard him say a swear. can't you express your frustration without using swears?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So what else does Berry swear by to achieve her stunning look? Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Secret Halle Berry Swears By for Radiant Skin," 23 Apr. 2021 Many couples swear that a Roomba, which can vacuum your home on a pre-programmed schedule, practically eliminates squabbles over who swept the floor last. Olivia Hosken, Town & Country, "Our Top Wedding Registry Picks from Amazon," 22 Apr. 2021 There is no shortage of developers or builders who have tried prefabrication and now swear against it. Jennifer Castenson, Forbes, "Forget Everything You Know, Modular Will Be Worth It," 16 Apr. 2021 Bollywood films are hamstrung by the Central Board of Film Certification, which forces filmmakers to remove everything from kisses and swear words to shots of drug abuse — once even from a film about drug abuse. Diksha Madhok, CNN, "Netflix and Amazon gave daring Indian filmmakers hope. Now that's turning to fear," 27 Mar. 2021 Doctors swear that making smart choices now can set you up for better heart health down the road. Korin Miller, Health.com, "7 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy, According to Experts," 23 Feb. 2021 There are also balance ball chairs, which some workers swear by. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "Is working from home a literal pain? These ergonomic setups and healthy habits can help," 18 Apr. 2021 People swear this was a blowout in Storch’s favor, accusing Mannie Fresh of having a sound too specific to its era and area. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, "All the Verzuz Battles, Ranked," 7 Apr. 2021 The president might swear it in as soon as this week. Karel Janicek, Star Tribune, "Slovak premier, government resign over Russian vaccine deal," 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Every pair of the high-tops features the same design: two hands connected in a pinky swear, the strings of their friendship bracelets intertwined. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Millie Bobby Brown Is Dropping A Customizable Line of Platform Converse," 11 Mar. 2021 So before the Inauguration swear-in ceremony today, Teigen tweeted at Joe Biden: This content is imported from Twitter. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, "Joe Biden Follows 11 People On Twitter. Including Chrissy Teigen," 21 Jan. 2021 The show’s exploration of swear words’ origins, historical context and linguistic evolution is the best part of the series, which comes from Funny or Die and B17 Entertainment. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Netflix’s ‘History of Swear Words’ isn’t even worth your expletives," 5 Jan. 2021 Nicolas Cage hosts this profane, funny and educational series about the history and impact of the most notorious English swear words. Washington Post, "What to watch on Tuesday: ‘Gordon Ramsay’s American Road Trip’ on Fox," 5 Jan. 2021 Comedians including Joel Kim Booster, DeRay Davis, Nikki Glaser, Patti Harrison, Sarah Silverman, and Nick Offerman gather together to discuss the usage, history, and impact of swear words in this brand-new documentary. Emma Specter, Vogue, "What’s New on Netflix in January," 16 Dec. 2020 Ag will have to put a couple dollars in the swear jar this week. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions returner Jamal Agnew has to pay, literally, for getting tackled by kicker," 16 Dec. 2020 According to their results, swear words were indicative of mental illness in general, and perception words (like see, feel, hear) and words related to negative emotions were indicative of schizophrenia. Grace Huckins, Wired, "An AI Used Facebook Data to Predict Mental Illness," 14 Dec. 2020 In the caretakers’ defense, parrots shouting swear words is very, very funny. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Quarantined Birds in Wildlife Park Are Put in Time Out for Swearing and Laughing at Visitors," 30 Sep. 2020

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swear


Middle English sweren, from Old English swerian; akin to Old High German swerien to swear and perhaps to Old Church Slavonic svarŭ quarrel

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Time Traveler for swear

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for swear

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Swear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swear. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for swear



English Language Learners Definition of swear

: to state (something) very strongly and sincerely
: to promise very strongly and sincerely to do or not do something
: to use offensive words when you speak


\ ˈswer How to pronounce swear (audio) \
swore\ ˈswȯr \; sworn\ ˈswȯrn \; swearing

Kids Definition of swear

1 : to use bad or vulgar language : curse
2 : to make a statement or promise with sincerity or under oath : vow I swear to tell the truth.
3 : to give an oath to The witness was sworn.
4 : to bind by an oath He swore them to secrecy.
5 : to be or feel certain I swear I saw it a minute ago.


swore; sworn; swearing

Legal Definition of swear

transitive verb

1 : to utter or take solemnly swear an oath
2a : to assert as true or promise under oath a sworn affidavit
b : to assert or promise emphatically or earnestly swore to uphold the constitution
3a : to put to an oath
b : to bind by an oath

intransitive verb

: to take an oath

History and Etymology for swear

Old English swerian

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More from Merriam-Webster on swear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swear

Nglish: Translation of swear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swear for Arabic Speakers

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