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[uh-vou] /əˈvaʊ/
verb (used with object)
to declare frankly or openly; own; acknowledge; confess; admit:
He avowed himself an opponent of all alliances.
Origin of avow
1150-1200; Middle English avowen < Old French avoue(r) < Latin advocāre. See advocate
Related forms
avowable, adjective
avower, noun
reavow, verb (used with object)
unavowable, adjective
unavowableness, noun
unavowably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for avow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is wise, and may be useful, on all proper occasions, to avow our convictions.

  • All mankind are like us, but they have not the candour to avow it.'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • As it was, I found it impossible to avow the one without the other.

    Bardelys the Magnificent Rafael Sabatini
  • He was forced to avow the wisdom of my counsel, and to be guided by it.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • I have at least reached the point in life where men not only have convictions but avow them.'

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • I avow everything I have spoken, and am ready to abide by it.

  • If the slanderer will stand forth and avow himself, I may know how to deal with him.

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • Under what possible pretext could I avow myself as her champion, not as of her own choosing?

    Jack Hinton Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for avow


verb (transitive)
to state or affirm
to admit openly
(law, rare) to justify or maintain (some action taken)
Derived Forms
avowable, adjective
avowal, noun
avowed (əˈvaʊd) adjective
avowedly (əˈvaʊɪdlɪ) adverb
avower, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French avouer to confess, from Latin advocāre to appeal to, call upon; see avouch, advocate
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for avow

early 13c., from Anglo-French avouer, Old French avoer "acknowledge, accept, recognize," especially as a protector (Modern French avouer), from Latin advocare (see advocate). A synonym of avouch (q.v.), which tends to contain the more technical, legal aspect of the word. Related: Avowed; avowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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