swear

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

swear

noun

Definition of swear (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

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?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some swore that the dress was orange, while other people tried to meet in the middle by calling it red-orange or blood-orange. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Lucy Hale Sparks Social Media Debate Over the Color of Her Dress," 12 Jan. 2019 For example, Mielke swears by an Esteé Lauder lipstick that doesn’t get much popular adulation. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "The “best” lipstick probably won’t change your life — but the search for it can," 12 Dec. 2018 Golf legend Gary Player, now 82, swears by his 1000-sit-ups a day. Aly Vance, CNN, "John Whitaker: The 62-year-old eying the Tokyo Olympics," 29 May 2018 With designs this delicate and nuanced, even those who have sworn off tattoos in their harder incarnations may be forced to reconsider. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "These Delicate Lace Tattoos on the Dion Lee Runway Looked So Real, They Were Mistaken for Fabric," 9 Sep. 2018 Take a cue from makeup artist Matin Maulawizada, who swears by the simple skin trick for minimizing the appearance of pimples in a pinch. Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, "Why Putting Visine on Your Blemishes Is the Acne Hack You Need to Try," 30 Aug. 2018 Several early entrants in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race have explicitly sworn off super PACs and dark-money nonprofits. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, "Liberals Outpaced Conservatives in ‘Dark Money’ Midterm Spending," 23 Jan. 2019 Artem Sheinin, a talk show host on Channel One, Russia's largest TV network, faces punishment for swearing on air during Tuesday's live broadcast, in which the Russian national squad's recent World Cup loss to Uruguay was discussed. Vladimir Kozlov, The Hollywood Reporter, "Russian Talk Show Host Faces Punishment for Swearing About World Cup Loss," 27 June 2018 Abu Sayyaf fighters were among the hundreds of militants who swore allegiance to Islamic State and captured the city of Marawi, about 260 miles northeast of Jolo, in 2017 and held out against the Philippine military for five months. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Philippine Terror Attack Kills at Least 20, Threatens Peace Hopes For Muslim Self-Rule," 27 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chemical repellents have long been considered the best way to ward off mosquitoes and ticks, but many swear by foods and other deterrents rumored to be less toxic. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, "Is There an Alternative Way to Prevent Bug Bites?," 28 July 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about swear

Dictionary Entries near swear

SWD

swd

sweal

swear

swear blind

swearer-in

swear in

Statistics for swear

Last Updated

16 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swear

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!