[swawrn, swohrn]


past participle of swear.


having taken an oath: a duly elected and sworn official.
bound by or as if by an oath or pledge.
avowed; affirmed: He is my sworn enemy.



verb (used without object), swore or (Archaic) sware; sworn; swear·ing.

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.

verb (used with object), swore or (Archaic) sware; sworn; swear·ing.

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.

Verb Phrases

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.
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

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

Synonym study

4. See curse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sworn

confirmed, bound, affirmed

Examples from the Web for sworn

Contemporary Examples of sworn

Historical Examples of sworn

  • He tried to swear Edith and me to secrecy, but we refused to be sworn.

  • Suddenly he remembered that he had also sworn to put Carlotta out of his life.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • For my part, I should have been deceived this time, and sworn that the two were but one.

  • She was then fighting, fighting with all her power against odds, for her sworn duty.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • I've sworn more in a week since you left us, than I ever swore in my life before!

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

British Dictionary definitions for sworn



the past participle of swear


bound, pledged, or made inveterate, by or as if by an oatha sworn statement; he was sworn to God


verb swears, swearing, swore or sworn

to declare or affirm (a statement) as true, esp by invoking a deity, etc, as witness
(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)
(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
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 sworn



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