- To swear is to speak using bad or rude language.
An example of to swear is exclaim “shit” when something bad happens.
- To swear is to make a promise.
- An example of to swear is to take an oath on the Bible in a courtroom.
- An example of to swear is to take a vow not to tell a secret.
A man swears an oath in court.
intransitive verbswore, sworn, swearing
- to make a solemn declaration with an appeal to God or to something held sacred for confirmation: to swear on one's honor
- to make a solemn promise; vow
- to use profane or obscene language; curse
- Law to give evidence under oath
Origin of swearMiddle English swerien ; from Old English swerian, akin to German schwören ; from Indo-European base an unverified form swer-, to speak from source Old Church Slavonic svariti, to revile
- to declare solemnly in the name of God or of something held sacred
- to pledge or vow on oath
- to assert or promise with great conviction or emphasis
- to take (an oath) by swearing
- to administer a legal oath to
- to name (something held sacred) in taking an oath
- to have great faith or confidence in
verbswore swore , sworn sworn , swear·ing, swears
- To make a solemn declaration, invoking a deity or a sacred person or thing, in confirmation of and witness to the honesty or truth of such a declaration.
- To make a solemn promise; vow.
- To use obscene or blasphemous language; curse.
- Law To commit oneself by oath to giving evidence or testimony that is truthful.
- a. To declare or affirm solemnly by invoking a deity or a sacred person or thing: swore on the Bible that he would tell the truth.b. To say or affirm earnestly and with great conviction: I swear that I will pay you back.
- To promise or pledge with a solemn oath; vow: He swore to do his duty. See Synonyms at promise.
- To utter or bind oneself to (an oath).
- Law To administer a legal oath to: All the witnesses have been sworn.
Origin of swearMiddle English sweren, from Old English swerian; see swer- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present swears, present participle swearing, simple past swore, past participle sworn)
- In sense 1, this is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive.
From Middle English sweren, swerien, from Old English swerian (“to swear, take an oath of office”), from Proto-Germanic *swarjaną (“to speak, swear”), from Proto-Indo-European *swer- (“to speak, talk”). Cognate with West Frisian swarre (“to swear”), Eastern Frisian swera (“to swear”), Dutch zweren (“to swear, vow”), Low German swören (“to swear”), sweren, German schwören (“to swear”), Danish sværge, Swedish svära (“to swear”), Icelandic sverja (“to swear”). Also cognate to Albanian var (“to hang, consider, to depend from”) through Proto-Indo-European.
- A swearword.
(comparative swearer or more swear, superlative swearest or most swear)
(third-person singular simple present swears, present participle swearing, simple past and past participle sweared)
- (UK dialectal) To be lazy; rest for a short while during working hours.
From Middle English swer, swar, from Old English swǣr, swār (“heavy, heavy as a burden, of great weight, oppressive, grievous, painful, unpleasant, sad, feeling or expressing grief, grave, slow, dull, sluggish, slothful, indolent, inactive from weakness, enfeebled, weak”), from Proto-Germanic *swēraz (“heavy”), from Proto-Indo-European *swēr- (“heavy”). Cognate with West Frisian swier (“heavy”), Dutch zwaar (“heavy, hard, difficult”), German schwer (“heavy, hard, difficult”), Swedish svår (“heavy, hard, severe”), Latin sērius (“earnest, grave, solemn, serious”) and Albanian varrë (“wound,plague”).