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Webster 1913 Edition


Swear

Swear

,
Verb.
I.
[
imp.
Swore
, formerly
Sware
;
p. p.
Sworn
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Swearing
.]
[OE.
swerien
, AS.
swerian
; akin to D.
zweren
, OS.
swerian
, OHG.
swerien
, G.
schwören
, Icel.
sverja
, Sw.
svärja
, Dan.
svaerge
, Icel. & Sw.
svara
to answer, Dan.
svare
, Dan. & Sw.
svar
an answer, Goth.
swaran
to swear, and perhaps to E.
swarm
. √177. Cf.
Answer
.]
1.
To affirm or utter a solemn declaration, with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed; to make a promise, threat, or resolve on oath; also, to affirm solemnly by some sacred object, or one regarded as sacred, as the Bible, the Koran, etc.
Ye shall
swear
by my name falsely.
Lev. xix. 12.
I
swear
by all the Roman gods.
Shakespeare
2.
(Law)
To give evidence on oath;
as, to
swear
to the truth of a statement; he
swore
against the prisoner
.
3.
To make an appeal to God in an irreverant manner; to use the name of God or sacred things profanely; to call upon God in imprecation; to curse.
[I]
swore
little; diced not above seven times a week.
Shakespeare
To swear by
,
to place great confidence in a person or thing; to trust implicitly as an authority.
“I simply meant to ask if you are one of those who swear by Lord Verulam.”
Miss Edgeworth.
To swear off
,
to make a solemn vow, or a serious resolution, to abstain from something;
as,
to swear off
smoking
.
[Slang]

Swear

,
Verb.
T.
1.
To utter or affirm with a solemn appeal to God for the truth of the declaration; to make (a promise, threat, or resolve) under oath.
Swear
unto me here by God, that thou wilt not deal falsely with me.
Gen. xxi. 23.
He
swore
consent to your succession.
Shakespeare
2.
(Law)
To put to an oath; to cause to take an oath; to administer an oath to; – ofetn followed by in or into;
as, to
swear
witnesses; to
swear
a jury; to
swear
in an officer; he was
sworn
into office
.
3.
To declare or charge upon oath;
as, he
swore
treason against his friend
.
Johnson.
4.
To appeal to by an oath.
Now, by Apollo, king,
Thou
swear’st
thy gods in vain.
Shakespeare
To swear the peace against one
,
to make oath that one is under the actual fear of death or bodily harm from the person, in which case the person must find sureties that he will keep the peace.

Webster 1828 Edition


Swear

SWEAR

,
Verb.
I.
pret. swore. [Eng. veer; L. assevero.]
1.
To affirm or utter a solemn declaration, with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed.
Ye shall not swear by my name falsely. Lev.19.
But I say unto you, swear not at all. Matt.5.
2.
To promise upon oath.
Jacob said, swear to me this day; and he swore to him. Gen.25.
3.
To give evidence an oath; as, to swear to the truth of a statement. He swore that the prisoner was not present at the riot.
4.
To be profane; to practice profaneness.
Certain classes of men are accustomed to swear. For men to swear is sinful, disreputable and odious; but for females or ladies to swear, appears more abominable and scandalous.

SWEAR

,
Verb.
T.
To utter or affirm with a solemn appeal to God for the truth of the declaration; as, to swear on oath. [This seems to have been the primitive use of swear; that is, to affirm.]
1.
To put to an oath; to cause to take an oath; as, to swear witnesses in court; to swear a jury; the witness has been sworn; the judges are sworn into office.
2.
To declare or charge upon oath; as, to swear treason against a man.
3.
To obtest by an oath.
Now by Apollo, king, thou swear'st thy gods in vain.
To swear the peace against one, to make oath that one is under the actual fear of death or bodily harm from the person; in which case the person must find sureties of the peace.

Definition 2021


swear

swear

English

Verb

swear (third-person singular simple present swears, present participle swearing, simple past swore, past participle sworn)

  1. (intransitive, transitive) To take an oath.
    • 1920, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Avery Hopwood, The Bat, chapterI:
      The Bat—they called him the Bat. []. He'd never been in stir, the bulls had never mugged him, he didn't run with a mob, he played a lone hand, and fenced his stuff so that even the fence couldn't swear he knew his face.
  2. (intransitive) To use offensive language.
Synonyms
  • See also Wikisaurus:swearword
Usage notes
  • In sense 1, this is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs
Synonyms
  • See also Wikisaurus:swear
Derived terms
Translations

Etymology 2

From the above verb, or from Middle English sware, from Old English swaru, from Proto-Germanic *swarō.

Noun

swear (plural swears)

  1. A swearword.

Etymology 3

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).

Alternative forms

Adjective

swear (comparative swearer or more swear, superlative swearest or most swear)

  1. (Britain dialectal) Heavy.
  2. (Britain dialectal) Top-heavy; too high.
  3. (Britain dialectal) Dull; heavy; lazy; slow; reluctant; unwilling.
  4. (Britain dialectal) Niggardly.
  5. (Britain dialectal) A lazy time; a short rest during working hours (especially field labour); a siesta.
Derived terms

Verb

swear (third-person singular simple present swears, present participle swearing, simple past and past participle sweared)

  1. (Britain dialectal) To be lazy; rest for a short while during working hours.

Anagrams