\ 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


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.


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

Rumors of Thammanat’s arrest circulated in July before he was sworn into his post in Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government. BostonGlobe.com, "Thai Cabinet minister denies drug conviction report - The Boston Globe," 11 Sep. 2019 Even if Mr Fernández wins outright in October (avoiding a run-off election), he will not be sworn into office until December. The Economist, "In Argentina, Mauricio Macri's dying government mimics its opponents," 5 Sep. 2019 Census workers are sworn to protect such information. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "Advocates push Census Bureau to prepare for security breaches, disinformation ahead of 2020 count," 30 Aug. 2019 Lightfoot was sworn into office shortly before the state legislative session ended and didn’t get a bailout from Springfield. Gregory Pratt, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot 100 days in — reform at City Hall still a work in progress: ‘We haven’t declared victory, but I think we’ve taken some very positive steps’," 28 Aug. 2019 Kaul came before the committee Tuesday under requirements of new laws passed by Republicans in December shifting powers away from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Kaul before they were sworn into office. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lame-duck fallout: State lawmakers met behind closed doors and they don't know why," 27 Aug. 2019 An appeal for bipartisanship efforts For the Republicans Finkenauer has worked with since being sworn into Congress, the lack of headlines surrounding her every movement is appealing. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "She made history with AOC but Congress' second-youngest woman, Abby Finkenauer, is her own Democrat," 26 Aug. 2019 Since he was sworn into office, pro-business Bolsonaro has made significant cuts to Brazil's environmental enforcement agency at a cost amounting to $23 million, according to official data sent to CNN by Observatorio do Clima. Kara Fox And Marina Lang, CNN, "Brazil's Bolsanaro says he 'loves' the Amazon. But his policies are designed to wreak havoc on it," 25 Aug. 2019 The clip went viral, the young Shapiro shot to fame, and — in the eyes of their respective followings — the two men were henceforth sworn enemies. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "How to Be a Popular Pundit," 21 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The big fireworks show in DC comes Thursday night, replete with Abrams tanks, flyovers by stealth jets - a B-2 bomber, F-22 Raptor and F-35 fighter --and a presidential speech that the White House pinky-swears won't be overtly partisan. Dallas News, "Castro rises in poll, outrage over Texas immigration detention centers grows, new Dallas voting plan," 4 July 2019 Didn't everyone on the Top 100 list swear at some point in their lives?—and Chrissy shut them down immediately. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Chrissy Teigen Is Named a TIME Most Influential Person—and Gets a Hilarious, Fan-Made Cover," 18 Apr. 2019 Two hero skin-care products Paltrow swears by are Vintner's Daughter's Active Botanical Serum and Goop's Exfoliating Instant Facial, both of which could definitely contribute to her flawless complexion. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Gwyneth Paltrow Just Posted a Makeup-Free Selfie Après Ski, and She’s Glowing," 27 Mar. 2019 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

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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Dictionary Entries near swear





swear blind


swear in

Statistics for swear

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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



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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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).


agony, or difficult or painful work

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