swear

verb
\ˈswer \
swore\ˈswȯr \; sworn\ˈswȯrn \; 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

swear

noun

Definition of swear (Entry 2 of 2)

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Other Words from swear

Verb

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

Regulars swear by their juicy burgers, namely Chef Rodney's Famous Cheeseburger, best paired with a side of 1/2 crinkle cut fries, 1/2 onion rings. Tara Massouleh, AL.com, "What to do in Mountain Brook's Crestline Village," 18 Apr. 2018 And thankfully, Mitchell has taken a hot second off from her new Lifetime series You to tell the world about her favorite beauty products—namely, the cult-favorite Tarte concealer Mitchell swears by. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Shay Mitchell Loves Tarte Shape Tape Concealer Because It's Freaking Excellent," 4 Oct. 2018 Randall and Beth swearing on Oprah might be a reference to Sterling K. Brown’s real-life Oprah fandom. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "6 Things You Missed From the 'This Is Us' Season 3 Premiere," 26 Sep. 2018 One day last January, my classroom buzzed with nervous energy as 15 teenagers prepared to lock their smartphones in a cabinet and swear off all Internet use for the next two weeks. Alice Lurain, Woman's Day, "This Teacher Convinced Her Students to Give Up Technology for Two Weeks," 22 Aug. 2018 Gohl responded that those were disciplinary incidents, such as swearing at a teacher, that didn’t rise to the level of criminal offenses. David Fleshler, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Stoneman Douglas shooting commission: PROMISE program flawed but not relevant to massacre," 10 July 2018 The Democrats running for governor, for instance, have all sworn off money from Big Sugar, but the party named U.S. Sugar Saturday as a sponsor for its gala. David Smiley, miamiherald, "Florida Democrats look for depth and clarity in the blue wave," 30 June 2018 He was named chief in 2016 and oversees 44 sworn firefighters from two stations — at UConn’s main campus in Storrs and UConn Health in Farmington. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "West Hartford Taps UConn Fire Chief As Assistant Fire Chief Overseeing Operations," 27 June 2018 My family swears by sound machines as noise blockers. Karen Campbell, BostonGlobe.com, "Trouble sleeping? Let your senses be your guide," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

While studies have yet to confirm the claims, some swear by the product's ability to alleviate allergies, soothe stress, and promote better sleep. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Those Himalayan Salt Lamps Everyone's Obsessed With Now Come in Skull Form," 25 Sep. 2018 From a lazy bun that's perfect for a quick hair change to the mascara that many swear by, some of our favorite makeup finds have started with just a pin. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Purple Eyeshadow Is Trending on Pinterest," 21 Aug. 2018 But this list is a mix of cleansers, moisturizers, and makeup that real people with rosacea swear by. Talia Abbas, SELF, "16 Skin-Care Products Women With Rosacea Love," 14 May 2018 But fans of the stinky fruit swear by the sweet-yet-savory taste of the durian's mushy pulp, which can be scooped out and eaten raw or used in a number of Southeast Asian recipes, especially in desserts. Melinda Morris, NOLA.com, "Who boils the best crawfish in metro New Orleans? It's the last day to vote," 30 Apr. 2018 But fans of the stinky fruit swear by the sweet-yet-savory taste of the durian’s mushy pulp, which can be scooped out and eaten raw or used in a number of Southeast Asian recipes, especially in desserts. Amy B Wang, Washington Post, "Fears of a gas leak forced an evacuation at a Melbourne university. It was a durian.," 29 Apr. 2018 Gülich didn't talk smack, though Fuehring learned some German swears to use during the game just in case. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Sam Fuehring's relentless defense vs. Oregon State's star proves pivotal in Lexington," 25 Mar. 2018 Fans of 2014's Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze swear by its breadth and production values. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Celeste review: With amazing twists, this 2D game reaches great heights," 25 Jan. 2018 Pinky-swears, whispers of secret club loyalties, no-girls-he-man-women-hater clubs like Spanky and Alfalfa had, all taught us to keep our childhood promises no matter what. Leslie Anne Tarabella, AL.com, "When parents break a promise," 13 July 2017

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

Verb

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swear

Verb

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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Dictionary Entries near swear

SWD

swd

sweal

swear

swear blind

swearer-in

swear in

Statistics for swear

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swear

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

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More Definitions for swear

swear

verb

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

swear

verb
\ˈswer \
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.

swear

verb
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swear

Spanish Central: Translation of swear

Nglish: Translation of swear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on swear

What made you want to look up swear? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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