Skip to main content

swear

swear / swe(ə)r/ • v. (past swore / swôr/ ; past part. sworn / swôrn/ ) 1. make a solemn statement or promise undertaking to do something or affirming that something is the case: Maria made me swear I would never tell anyone I swear by all I hold dear that I had nothing to do with it | he swore to obey the rules | [with direct speech] “Never again,” she swore, “will I be short of money” | [tr.] they were reluctant to swear allegiance. ∎  [tr.] take (an oath): he forced them to swear an oath of loyalty to him. ∎  [tr.] take a solemn oath as to the truth of (a statement): I asked him if he would swear a statement to this effect. ∎  [tr.] (swear someone in) admit someone to a particular office or position by directing them to take a formal oath: he was sworn in as president on July 10. ∎  [tr.] make (someone) promise to observe a certain course of action: I've been sworn to secrecy. ∎  [intr.] (swear to) express one's assurance that something is the case: I couldn't swear to it, but I'm pretty sure it's his writing. ∎  [intr.] (swear off) inf. promise to abstain from: I'd sworn off alcohol. ∎  [intr.] (swear by) inf. have or express great confidence in the use, value, or effectiveness of: Iris swears by her yoga. 2. [intr.] use offensive language, esp. as an expression of anger: Peter swore under his breath. PHRASES: swear up and down inf. affirm something emphatically: he swore up and down they'd never get him up on that stage.PHRASAL VERBS: swear something out Law obtain the issue of (a warrant for arrest) by making a charge on oath.DERIVATIVES: swear·er n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"swear." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"swear." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 18, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/swear-0

"swear." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved November 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/swear-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.