Language: Old English
Origin: swerian


Related topics: Law
swear S2 past tense swore past participle sworn

offensive language

[intransitive] to use rude and offensive language:
Don't swear in front of the children.
swear at
He turned round and swore at me.


[transitive] to promise that you will do something
swear (that)
Victor swore he would get his revenge.
swear to do something
Mona swore never to return home.
Do you swear on your honour (=promise very strongly) that you will never tell anyone?

state the truth

[intransitive and transitive] informal to say very strongly that what you are saying is true:
I never touched your purse, I swear!
swear (that)
He says he was there all the time, but I swear I never saw him.
swear blind British English (=say very strongly)
She swore blind that she had never seen him before.
I never touched her, I swear to God.
I think it was about ten o'clock when we left, but I couldn't swear to it (=I am not certain).

somebody could have sworn (that) ...

used to say that someone was sure about something but now they think they were wrong:
I could have sworn I had my keys.

public promise

[intransitive and transitive]SCL to make a public official promise, especially in a court of law
swear on
Witnesses have to swear on the Bible.
Remember that you have sworn an oath and so must tell the truth
Presidents must swear allegiance to the US constitution.

swear somebody to secrecy/silence

to make someone promise not to tell anyone what you have told them
swearing noun [uncountable]
He was cautioned for swearing.
lots of shouting and swearing

swear by something

phrasal verb
to have great confidence in how good or effective something is:
He swears by vitamin C pills.

swear somebody ↔ in

phrasal verb
if someone with a new public job or position is sworn in, they make an official promise to do their duty well:
The new governor will be sworn in next week.
The jury have not yet been sworn in.

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