\ 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 Flynn's apparent endorsement - his move to swear his allegiance to QAnon - was decisive for some who had once only flirted with the theory. Anchorage Daily News, "How the Trump campaign came to court QAnon, the online conspiracy movement identified by the FBI as a violent threat," 2 Aug. 2020 Our editors swear by this as a simple way to turn any cup or teapot into a loose-leaf tea experience. Morena Duwe, CNN Underscored, "Everything you need to start a soothing loose-leaf tea drinking habit," 29 July 2020 No Trace is a series of principles that serious hikers and campers swear by. Matt Haines, CNN Underscored, "Why backcountry camping could be the perfect vacation this year," 9 July 2020 The popular pick has collected hundreds of 5-star reviews from users who swear it’s fixed every sleeping problem under the sun, er moon, from snoring to sleep apnea. Braelyn Wood, Health.com, "This Pillow Wedge Is a Go-To for Anyone With Sleep Apnea, Acid Reflux, or Back Pain—and It’s on Sale," 7 July 2020 Some editors want all the cushion, while others swear by a lightweight fit for their fastest runs. SELF, "Submission Guidelines for SELF’s 2020 Sneaker Awards," 7 July 2020 Still, there are a number of fans on social media who swear that, after banishing Chief Wahoo to the back room of the team store, changing the name will be the last straw. cleveland, "Changing the Indians name isn’t about you, so get over it: Joey Morona," 6 July 2020 Reviewers also swear by the Long-Wear Weightless Foundation, which comes in an impressive 42 shades. Sharon Brandwein, USA TODAY, "11 inclusive makeup brands with products for all skin tones," 1 July 2020 Recently, the use of facial recognition software in law enforcement has drawn condemnation and prompted some companies to swear off selling to police. Will Knight, Wired, "If Done Right, AI Could Make Policing Fairer," 25 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 One of them, Lance Carter, was the clerk who kept the swear journal that was used as evidence. Washington Post, "Panel seeks censure, coaching for foul-mouthed Kansas judge," 28 Feb. 2020 The latter section is where one is most likely to encounter the swears, particularly in the poetry of William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "500-year-old manuscript contains one of earliest known uses of the “F-word”," 6 Apr. 2020 Some people use elbows, some swear by using a knuckle to tap the button. The Oregonian/oregonlive.com, oregonlive, "‘Dracula sneeze,’ fist bump, knuckle tap: 3 easy ways to reduce coronavirus risk as you head back to work, school," 2 Mar. 2020 Baseball prospect season is upon us once again, with publications releasing their annual prospect rankings that everybody in baseball swears are paid no attention to. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Casey Mize, Matt Manning top Detroit Tigers' prospect lists as rankings roll out," 9 Jan. 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

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swear. Accessed 6 Aug. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on swear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swear

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swear

Spanish Central: Translation of swear

Nglish: Translation of swear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swear for Arabic Speakers

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