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American Dictionary of the English Language

Webster's Dictionary 1828

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Swear


SWEAR, verb intransitive preterit tense swore. [Eng. veer; Latin assevero.]

1. To affirm or utter a solemn declaration, with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed.

Ye shall not swear by my name falsely. Leviticus 19:12.

But I say unto you, swear not at all. Matthew 5:34.

2. To promise upon oath.

Jacob said, swear to me this day; and he swore to him. Genesis 25:33.

3. To give evidence an oath; as, to swear to the truth of a statement. He swore that the prisoner was not present at the riot.

4. To be profane; to practice profaneness.

Certain classes of men are accustomed to swear For men to swear is sinful, disreputable and odious; but for females or ladies to swear appears more abominable and scandalous.

SWEAR, verb transitive To utter or affirm with a solemn appeal to God for the truth of the declaration; as, to swear on oath. [This seems to have been the primitive use of swear; that is, to affirm.]

1. To put to an oath; to cause to take an oath; as, to swear witnesses in court; to swear a jury; the witness has been sworn; the judges are sworn into office.

2. To declare or charge upon oath; as, to swear treason against a man.

3. To obtest by an oath.

Now by Apollo, king, thou swear'st thy gods in vain.

To swear the peace against one, to make oath that one is under the actual fear of death or bodily harm from the person; in which case the person must find sureties of the peace.