\ 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?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Glueck, like many archaeologists then and now, had a bit of the novelist in him, which might be necessary in a profession that requires you to imagine a majestic temple based on what a normal observer would swear was just a pile of rocks. Matti Friedman, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Nov. 2021 The drama of that hearing was captured in a famous photograph of the top executives of the seven largest American tobacco companies raising their hands before Congress to swear that cigarettes aren’t addictive. Anna M. Phillips, Los Angeles Times, 28 Oct. 2021 On the other hand, Dr. Maser is slower to advise a patient to swear off dairy products altogether. Colleen Stinchcombe, Health.com, 19 Oct. 2021 Union representatives had encouraged consumers to swear off Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers to strengthen workers’ bargaining position. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 In San Diego County, California, in September, anti-mask protesters forced their way into a school-board meeting and tried to swear themselves in as the new, unelected members. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 8 Oct. 2021 Not to mention, the bond building treatment has garnered more than 7,000 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers, who swear that this bond builder restored their long hair. Chloe Irving, Health.com, 4 Nov. 2021 The veneration surrounding the knickknacks only reinforces the cultish assumptions, but owners swear that there's nothing quite like holding a tungsten cube. NBC News, 2 Nov. 2021 Some will swear by Dragon Age: Origins; others will pledge their fealty to Dragon Age: Inquisition. Swapna Krishna, Wired, 6 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 To keep things family friendly and positive, these URLs and swear words are automatically removed. Jackson Weimer, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 My younger girls have witnessed her swear at us, too. Abigail Van Buren, oregonlive, 22 Sep. 2021 Westend61Getty Images Dermatologists, editors, and celebs swear by Kate Somerville's EradiKate, a cult-favorite topical acne spot treatment. Hannah Morrill, Marie Claire, 21 June 2021 Families from Narragansett would buy day passes for parties at the pool, where they might be greeted by a fake windmill or a parrot the local fishermen had taught swear words. BostonGlobe.com, 30 July 2021 Even the perfect tools for copying beauty techniques that celebs swear by can be found on Amazon Handmade, including the Vegan Dry Skin Smoothing Body Brush that's on sale for $14.40. Melissa Epifano, PEOPLE.com, 22 June 2021 Some colorists’ swear by coconut oil but Anderson recommends his dpHUE Color Fresh Oil Therapy. Bea Mcmonagle, Forbes, 28 May 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near swear



swear blind

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Statistics for swear

Last Updated

23 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Swear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swear. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for swear



English Language Learners Definition of swear

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of swear (Entry 2 of 2)


\ 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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