swore; swearing; swears

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. verb
    to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
    “Before God I swear I am innocent”
    synonyms: affirm, assert, aver, avow, swan, verify
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    assert or affirm
    claim, take
    lay claim to; as of an idea
    authenticate; affirm to be true, genuine, or correct, as in an official capacity
    state firmly
    affirm or avow formally or solemnly
    assure, tell
    inform positively and with certainty and confidence
    type of:
    state emphatically and authoritatively
  2. verb
    promise solemnly; take an oath
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    type of:
    make a vow; promise
  3. verb
    utter obscenities or profanities
    synonyms: blaspheme, curse, cuss, imprecate
    speak of in an irreverent or impious manner
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    type of:
    express, give tongue to, utter, verbalise, verbalize
    articulate; either verbally or with a cry, shout, or noise
  4. verb
    have confidence or faith in
    “I swear by my grandmother's recipes”
    synonyms: bank, rely, trust
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    disbelieve, distrust, mistrust, suspect
    regard as untrustworthy; regard with suspicion; have no faith or confidence in
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    have trust in; trust in the truth or veracity of
    lean, rely
    rely on for support
    bet, calculate, count, depend, look, reckon
    have faith or confidence in
    credit with veracity
    type of:
    accept as true; take to be true
  5. verb
    make a deposition; declare under oath
    synonyms: depone, depose
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    type of:
    state emphatically and authoritatively
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘swear'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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