\ 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)

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? See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Some people follow a Paleo diet; others swear by Atkins. Rick Miller, Forbes, 6 Dec. 2021 Many spearers use wooden fish decoys to lure curious sturgeon to the surface, but others swear by things like Barbie dolls, CDs, GI Joes, copper Jell-O molds, and even toilet seat lids, which Molitor finds practical. Amanda Ogle, Condé Nast Traveler, 2 Nov. 2021 Though it should be taken lightly, some people swear by the Farmers' Almanac predictions each year. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, 12 Aug. 2021 Clam-shack fans swear by this marshland classic with ample outdoor seating and generous portions. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Aug. 2021 More than 1,700 shoppers swear by the Lunix LX3 Cordless Hand Massager ($130; amazon.com) for pain relief. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, 3 June 2021 Not only do players swear the ball’s composition is different, but all 30 stadiums are also utilizing humidors to store balls this year, a practice previously limited to thin-air environments to curb rampant offensive totals. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 Apr. 2022 Not only are these items significantly marked down, but they're also backed by tons of rave reviews from shoppers who swear by them. PEOPLE.com, 20 Apr. 2022 Luckily, there are plenty of dressy pieces that don't sacrifice comfort for style — and one that Amazon shoppers swear by is on major sale right now. Isabel Garcia, PEOPLE.com, 7 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Professional chefs and amateurs cooks the world over swear on their Le Creuset casserole pots, the staple of many a kitchen. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 7 June 2021 What’s the latest and possibly final word on a controversial proposal to convert a hunting valley mansion designed by the van swear engines into [00:15:00] condos. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 1 Mar. 2022 For Alex Sharp, a librarian who lives in McMinn County, the board's fixation on a handful of swear words misses the broader lessons students should learn while studying the Holocaust and other painful moments in history. Arkansas Online, 13 Feb. 2022 As David Corn of Mother Jones reports, the McMinn County school board deemed Maus inappropriate for 13-year-olds based in part on its inclusion of swear words and drawings of nude figures. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Feb. 2022 Although many swear by this extreme method of linen cleaning, Sammy Wang, a senior fabric-care scientist at Procter & Gamble, is more cautious. Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2021 Given that the nuclear deal or anything like it has zero chance of attracting the two-thirds majority of senators necessary for treaty ratification, the most Tehran can get out of the negotiating process is a Biden pinky-swear. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2021 Brief violence, and some swear words and racial slurs. New York Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Ten minutes later Zepeda has swapped Rick, a swear-free but self-deprecating tree, for a pair of books detailing the benefits of communal governance. Todd Martens Game Critic, Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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

Learn More About swear

Time Traveler for swear

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near swear



swear blind

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Statistics for swear

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Swear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swear. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for swear


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on swear

Nglish: Translation of swear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swear for Arabic Speakers


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