- to make a solemn declaration or affirmation by some sacred being or object, as a deity or the Bible.
- to bind oneself by oath.
- to give evidence or make a statement on oath.
- to use profane oaths or language: Don't swear in front of the children.
- to declare, affirm, attest, etc., by swearing by a deity, some sacred object, etc.
- to affirm, assert, or say with solemn earnestness.
- to promise or undertake on oath or in a solemn manner; vow.
- to testify or state on oath: He swore it on the witness stand.
- to take (an oath), as in order to give solemnity or force to a declaration, promise, etc.
- to bind by an oath: to swear someone to secrecy.
- swear by,
- to name (a sacred being or thing) as one's witness or guarantee in swearing.
- Informal.to have great confidence in; rely on: He swears by his dentist.
- to have certain knowledge of: I thought I saw him leaving, but I couldn't swear by it.
- swear in, to admit to office or service by administering an oath: A new president will be sworn in today.
- swear off, to promise or resolve to give up something, especially intoxicating beverages.
- swear out, to secure (a warrant for arrest) by making an accusation under oath.
Origin of swear
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to declare or affirm (a statement) as true, esp by invoking a deity, etc, as witness
- (foll by by)
- to invoke (a deity, etc) by name as a witness or guarantee to an oath
- to trust implicitly; have complete confidence (in)
- (intr often foll by at) to curse, blaspheme, or use swearwords
- (when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to promise solemnly on oath; vow
- (tr) to assert or affirm with great emphasis or earnestness
- (intr) to give evidence or make any statement or solemn declaration on oath
- to take an oath in order to add force or solemnity to (a statement or declaration)
- swear blind informal to assert emphatically
- a period of swearing
Word Origin and History for swear by
Old English swerian "take an oath" (class VI strong verb; past tense swor, past participle sworen), from Proto-Germanic *swarjan-, (cf. Old Saxon swerian, Old Norse sverja, Danish sverge, Old Frisian swera, Middle Dutch swaren, Old High German swerien, German schwören, Gothic swaren "to swear"), from PIE root *swer- (1) "to speak, talk, say" (cf. Old Church Slavonic svara "quarrel"). Also related to the second element in answer. The secondary sense of "use bad language" (early 15c.) developed from the notion of "invoke sacred names." Swear-word is American English colloquial from 1883. Swear off "desist as with a vow" is from 1898.
Idioms and Phrases with swear by
Have great reliance on or confidence in, as in She swears by her personal physician. [Early 1800s]
Also, swear to. Have reliable knowledge of, be sure of, as in I think she was going to the library but I can't swear to it. [Mid-1700s]
Take an oath by, as in I swear by all the saints in heaven. [Early 1200s]