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[uh-vou] /əˈvaʊ/
verb (used with object)
to declare frankly or openly; own; acknowledge; confess; admit:
He avowed himself an opponent of all alliances.
Origin of avow
1150-1200; Middle English avowen < Old French avoue(r) < Latin advocāre. See advocate
Related forms
avowable, adjective
avower, noun
reavow, verb (used with object)
unavowable, adjective
unavowableness, noun
unavowably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for avow
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I avow that I do not regard it as so manly, so truly masculine, you comprehend, as the opposite trait.

  • It is wise, and may be useful, on all proper occasions, to avow our convictions.

  • My principles were true; my motives were pure: why should I scruple to avow my principles and vindicate my actions?

    Arthur Mervyn Charles Brockden Brown
  • All mankind are like us, but they have not the candour to avow it.'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • “What right had a man who wrote a play p. 23for the stage, to avow contempt for the theatric profession”?

    Anna Seward Stapleton Martin
  • He was forced to avow the wisdom of my counsel, and to be guided by it.

    The Suitors of Yvonne Raphael Sabatini
  • It is necessary that you may avow your language is not useful for the purpose ordinary of the world.

  • I have at least reached the point in life where men not only have convictions but avow them.'

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
British Dictionary definitions for avow


verb (transitive)
to state or affirm
to admit openly
(law, rare) to justify or maintain (some action taken)
Derived Forms
avowable, adjective
avowal, noun
avowed (əˈvaʊd) adjective
avowedly (əˈvaʊɪdlɪ) adverb
avower, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French avouer to confess, from Latin advocāre to appeal to, call upon; see avouch, advocate
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
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Word Origin and History for avow

early 13c., from Anglo-French avouer, Old French avoer "acknowledge, accept, recognize," especially as a protector (Modern French avouer), from Latin advocare (see advocate). A synonym of avouch (q.v.), which tends to contain the more technical, legal aspect of the word. Related: Avowed; avowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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