\ ˈōth How to pronounce oath (audio) \
plural oaths\ ˈōt͟hz How to pronounce oath (audio) , ˈōths \

Definition of oath

1a(1) : a solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says
(2) : a solemn attestation of the truth or inviolability of one's words The witness took an oath to tell the truth in court.
b : something (such as a promise) corroborated by an oath They were required to swear an oath of loyalty. took the oath of office
2 : an irreverent or careless use of a sacred name broadly : swear word He uttered an oath and stormed away.

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Synonyms for oath


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Examples of oath in a Sentence

an oath to defend the nation He uttered an oath and walked away.
Recent Examples on the Web More concerning is the fact that the Oath Keepers make their members swear an oath of allegiance, much like the police and military, Johnson said. Will Carless, USA TODAY, 2 Oct. 2021 In court Friday, Meng pleaded not guilty under oath to the charges in a third superseding indictment brought against her, including bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit those acts. Robert Legare, CBS News, 24 Sep. 2021 In pleading guilty in late June, Hughes admitted to lying for providing false testimony under oath to the special grand jury and pleaded guilty to hiring his children to work in his office. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 13 Sep. 2021 The prince could still be compelled to answer questions under oath or to turn over texts, emails and private letters related to the case. Lanford Beard, PEOPLE.com, 13 Sep. 2021 If the matter requires a hearing, Krishnayya said petitions should expect to testify under oath and understand that the burden of proof is on the petitioner to prove the respondent presents a credible threat. Elizabeth Depompei, The Indianapolis Star, 10 Sep. 2021 Last January, Biden took an oath to discharge that duty. Robert Delahunty, National Review, 11 Aug. 2021 National Guardsmen swear an oath to perform state or federal missions and can be deployed for either. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, 13 June 2021 Most times, the day just needs good police officers who have sworn an oath to serve and protect to keep their promise, regardless of who needs protecting. Lz Granderson, Star Tribune, 20 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'oath.' 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 oath

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for oath

Middle English ooth, from Old English āth; akin to Old High German eid oath, Middle Irish oeth

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Time Traveler for oath

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near oath

oat grass



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Statistics for oath

Last Updated

7 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oath.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oath. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for oath



English Language Learners Definition of oath

: a formal and serious promise to tell the truth or to do something
: an offensive or rude word that is used to express anger, frustration, surprise, etc.


\ ˈōth How to pronounce oath (audio) \
plural oaths\ ˈōt͟hz , ˈōths \

Kids Definition of oath

1 : a solemn promise to tell the truth or do a specific thing
2 : an obscene or impolite word used to express anger or frustration


Medical Definition of oath

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Legal Definition of oath

1 : a solemn attestation of the truth of one's words or the sincerity of one's intentions specifically : one accompanied by calling upon a deity as a witness
2 : a promise (as to perform official duties faithfully) corroborated by an oath — compare perjury
under oath
: under a solemn and especially legal obligation to tell the truth (as when testifying)

More from Merriam-Webster on oath

Nglish: Translation of oath for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oath for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about oath


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