Definition of swear verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//sweə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swer//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they swear
    BrE BrE//sweə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swer//
    he / she / it swears
    BrE BrE//sweəz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swerz//
    past simple swore
    BrE BrE//swɔː(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swɔːr//
    past participle sworn
    BrE BrE//swɔːn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//swɔːrn//
    -ing form swearing
    BrE BrE//ˈsweərɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈswerɪŋ//
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  1. 1  [intransitive] to use rude or offensive language, usually because you are angry She fell over and swore loudly. I don't like to hear children swearing. swear at somebody/something Why did you let him swear at you like that?
  2. 2  [transitive, no passive] to make a serious promise to do something synonym vow swear something He swore revenge on the man who had killed his father. swear (that)… I swear (that) I’ll never leave you. ‘That’ is usually left out, especially in speech. swear to do something She made him swear not to tell anyone.
  3. 3  [transitive] to promise that you are telling the truth swear (that)… She swore (that) she’d never seen him before. I could have sworn (= I am sure) I heard the phone ring. swear to somebody/on something (that)… I swear to God I had nothing to do with it.
  4. 4  [intransitive, transitive] to make a public or official promise, especially in court swear (on something) Witnesses were required to swear on the Bible. swear that… Are you willing to stand up in court and swear that you don't recognize him? swear to do something Remember, you have sworn to tell the truth. swear something Barons had to swear an oath of allegiance to the king. More Like This Verbs usually followed by infinitives afford, agree, appear, arrange, attempt, beg, choose, consent, decide, expect, fail, happen, hesitate, hope, intend, learn, manage, mean, neglect, offer, prepare, pretend, promise, refuse, swear, try, want, wishSee worksheet.
  5. 5[transitive] swear somebody to secrecy/silence to make somebody promise not to tell something to anyone Everyone was sworn to secrecy about what had happened. see also sworn
  6. Word OriginOld English swerian of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zweren, German schwören, also to answer.Extra examples He heard her swear under her breath. He made her swear on the Bible that she wouldn’t leave him. He swears up and down that he trusts me. He swore loudly at her and left. He swore solemnly that he would never hit her again. I swear by Almighty God to tell the truth. I swear to you, I don’t know anything. I would be prepared to swear on oath that they didn’t see me. Lincoln was sworn into office on March 4, 1861. We were all sworn to secrecy about the plan. Are you willing to stand up in court and swear that you don’t recognize him? He swore blind that you knew all about it. I don’t like to hear children swearing. I swear (that) I’ll never leave you. I swear to God I had nothing to do with it. I think I put the keys back in the drawer, but I couldn’t swear to it. She fell over and swore really loudly.Idioms (informal) to say that something is definitely true He swore blind that he’d already paid back the money he owed me. (old-fashioned, British English) to often use very rude or offensive language Phrasal Verbsswear by somebodyswear somebodyinswear off somethingswear to something
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: swear