swear

When you take an oath about something, you swear to it, affirming its truth. Ironically, if you utter an oath, such as a curse word or obscenity, you also swear. Do you swear to put a quarter in this jar for every time you swear?

The two separate meanings of swear come from branches of the same etymological tree. Both meanings have ties to Old Norse sverja, but sometime in the Middle English, the word became on one hand sweren with the meaning "to promise," while another version, swerian, became "to curse." Both might come from the idea of an oath being connected to a deity, but while one referred to truth, the other went to the dark side, negatively invoking a sacred name.

DEFINITIONS OF: swear

1

v to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true

“Before God I swear I am innocent”
Synonyms:
affirm, assert, aver, avow, swan, verify
Types:
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hold
assert or affirm
claim, take
lay claim to; as of an idea
attest
authenticate, affirm to be true, genuine, or correct, as in an official capacity
declare
state firmly
protest
affirm or avow formally or solemnly
assure, tell
inform positively and with certainty and confidence
Type of:
declare
state emphatically and authoritatively

v promise solemnly; take an oath

Type of:
vow
make a vow; promise

v utter obscenities or profanities

Synonyms:
blaspheme, curse, cuss, imprecate
blaspheme
speak of in an irreverent or impious manner
Type of:
express, give tongue to, utter, verbalise, verbalize
articulate; either verbally or with a cry, shout, or noise

v have confidence or faith in

“I swear by my grandmother's recipes”
Synonyms:
bank, rely, trust
Antonyms:
distrust, mistrust, suspect
regard as untrustworthy; regard with suspicion; have no faith or confidence in
Types:
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credit
have trust in; trust in the truth or veracity of
lean
rely on for support
bet, calculate, count, depend, look, reckon
have faith or confidence in
believe
credit with veracity
Type of:
believe
accept as true; take to be true

v make a deposition; declare under oath

Synonyms:
depone, depose
Type of:
declare
state emphatically and authoritatively
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