[swawr, swohr]
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verb (used without object), swore or (Archaic) sware; sworn; swear·ing.
  1. to make a solemn declaration or affirmation by some sacred being or object, as a deity or the Bible.
  2. to bind oneself by oath.
  3. to give evidence or make a statement on oath.
  4. to use profane oaths or language: Don't swear in front of the children.
verb (used with object), swore or (Archaic) sware; sworn; swear·ing.
  1. to declare, affirm, attest, etc., by swearing by a deity, some sacred object, etc.
  2. to affirm, assert, or say with solemn earnestness.
  3. to promise or undertake on oath or in a solemn manner; vow.
  4. to testify or state on oath: He swore it on the witness stand.
  5. to take (an oath), as in order to give solemnity or force to a declaration, promise, etc.
  6. to bind by an oath: to swear someone to secrecy.
Verb Phrases
  1. swear by,
    1. to name (a sacred being or thing) as one's witness or guarantee in swearing.
    2. Informal.to have great confidence in; rely on: He swears by his dentist.
    3. to have certain knowledge of: I thought I saw him leaving, but I couldn't swear by it.
  2. swear in, to admit to office or service by administering an oath: A new president will be sworn in today.
  3. swear off, to promise or resolve to give up something, especially intoxicating beverages.
  4. swear out, to secure (a warrant for arrest) by making an accusation under oath.

Origin of swear

before 900; Middle English sweren, Old English swerian; cognate with German schwören, Old Norse sverja; akin to Gothic swaran to swear; see answer
Related formsswear·er, nounswear·ing·ly, adverbre·swear, verb, re·swore, re·sworn, re·swear·ing.un·der·swear·er, noun

Synonyms for swear

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Synonym study

4. See curse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for swore

Contemporary Examples of swore

Historical Examples of swore

  • She could feel the shears against her hair, and she was so scared she swore like he told her.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Where is this camp to which you swore that you would lead us?

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • There was a girl who swore she was innocent—yes, she swore that she was innocent.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • He stormed and swore, and forbade Elizabeth ever coming in his sight again.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • Edward swore a fierce oath that they should either go, or hang.

British Dictionary definitions for swore


  1. the past tense of swear


verb swears, swearing, swore or sworn
  1. to declare or affirm (a statement) as true, esp by invoking a deity, etc, as witness
  2. (foll by by)
    1. to invoke (a deity, etc) by name as a witness or guarantee to an oath
    2. to trust implicitly; have complete confidence (in)
  3. (intr often foll by at) to curse, blaspheme, or use swearwords
  4. (when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to promise solemnly on oath; vow
  5. (tr) to assert or affirm with great emphasis or earnestness
  6. (intr) to give evidence or make any statement or solemn declaration on oath
  7. to take an oath in order to add force or solemnity to (a statement or declaration)
  8. swear blind informal to assert emphatically
  1. a period of swearing
Derived Formsswearer, noun

Word Origin for swear

Old English swerian; related to Old Norse sverja, Gothic swaran, Old Frisian swera, German schwören
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

Word Origin and History for swore



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper