\ 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



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 Bell swear by to get her through the day? Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Kristen Bell Is All About That CBD Life," 21 Oct. 2020 Some people—including many of our own staffers—swear by them for all-day comfort and breathability. Arielle Tschinkel, USA TODAY, "Crocs is having a huge sale on some of its most comfy footwear," 20 Oct. 2020 Quite a few folks chimed in to swear by the double-boiler method, in which the eggs are cooked in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Readers share their favorite ways to make scrambled eggs," 16 Oct. 2020 Not only do doctors swear a professional oath to safeguard patient privacy, but all staff members who help care for the president have top-secret clearances that prohibit the sharing of any information about his condition or medical treatment. Anchorage Daily News, "Walter Reed hospital staffers were required to sign nondisclosure agreements during Trump’s mysterious 2019 visit," 8 Oct. 2020 Do note this location moved a couple of years ago to a shiny new strip mall, but lifelong fans swear the pizza’s as good as ever. Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, "The 25 best pizzas in Chicago — from scrappy newcomers to beloved classics," 7 Oct. 2020 She's dismissed from her Airbnb in a way that feels racist, though the owners swear its not. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, "You’ve Made It Through The Third Day Episode 4: Now Who The Heck Is Helen?," 6 Oct. 2020 While there’s no official rubric, many in northern China swear that proper zhajiang should consist mostly of gan huangjiang. Clarissa Wei, Bon Appétit, "Zhajiangmian Is the Perfect Combination of Salty, Sweet, and Savory," 18 Sep. 2020 If cost isn’t a factor to you, this is a product industry experts swear by for real results. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, "24 of the best products for men’s skin care, according to experts," 14 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 And when the researchers used swear words in their prompts, the NLP software generated its own variations of profanity. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Your favorite A.I. language tool is toxic," 29 Sep. 2020 Only blue shells in Mario Kart games produce more pained utterances of swear words amongst users of interactive software than that dreadful, infuriating wiggle mode. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iOS and iPadOS 14 review: iPhone transformation, iPad iteration," 28 Sep. 2020 Many books have been banned for language that parents find objectionable, but the reality is that most kids have encountered swear words or will soon. Chris Smith | Contributing Writer, NOLA.com, "Banned Book Week at the Jefferson Library asks readers to look at the bigger picture of literature," 24 Sep. 2020 According to Hamilton playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, some of the swear words were removed to allow the movie a PG-13 rating so kids could see it. Megan Marples, CNN, "Fireworks at home: Risks and safer alternatives, as sales skyrocket," 30 June 2020 Harley herself is voiced by Kaley Cuoco, audibly stoked about all the swear words CBS never allowed on The Big Bang Theory. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Harley Quinn needs so many more seasons," 25 June 2020 Some judges make a point of telling jurors to remember that a witness who chooses to affirm rather than swear is no less likely to be truthful. Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump and Uses and Misuses of the Bible," 15 June 2020 Even for those who struggle to keep their plants happy swear by these bags. Summer Cartwright, Better Homes & Gardens, "These Fabric Grow Bags Are the Easiest Way to Start a Garden," 10 June 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

29 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swear. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for swear


How to pronounce swear (audio)

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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Comments on swear

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