Swear by

swear

[swair]
verb (used without object), swore or (Archaic) sware; sworn; swearing.
1.
to make a solemn declaration or affirmation by some sacred being or object, as a deity or the Bible.
2.
to bind oneself by oath.
3.
to give evidence or make a statement on oath.
4.
to use profane oaths or language: Don't swear in front of the children.
verb (used with object), swore or (Archaic) sware; sworn; swearing.
5.
to declare, affirm, attest, etc., by swearing by a deity, some sacred object, etc.
6.
to affirm, assert, or say with solemn earnestness.
7.
to promise or undertake on oath or in a solemn manner; vow.
8.
to testify or state on oath: He swore it on the witness stand.
9.
to take (an oath), as in order to give solemnity or force to a declaration, promise, etc.
10.
to bind by an oath: to swear someone to secrecy.
Verb phrases
11.
swear by,
a.
to name (a sacred being or thing) as one's witness or guarantee in swearing.
b.
Informal. to have great confidence in; rely on: He swears by his dentist.
c.
to have certain knowledge of: I thought I saw him leaving, but I couldn't swear by it.
12.
swear in, to admit to office or service by administering an oath: A new president will be sworn in today.
13.
swear off, to promise or resolve to give up something, especially intoxicating beverages.
14.
swear out, to secure (a warrant for arrest) by making an accusation under oath.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English sweren, Old English swerian; cognate with German schwören, Old Norse sverja; akin to Gothic swaran to swear; see answer

swearer, noun
swearingly, adverb
reswear, verb, reswore, resworn, reswearing.
underswearer, noun


1. declare, affirm, avow. 3. depose, testify. 4. imprecate. See curse.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
swear (swɛə)
 
vb (often foll by at) , swears, swearing, swore, sworn
1.  to declare or affirm (a statement) as true, esp by invoking a deity, etc, as witness
2.  (foll by by)
 a.  to invoke (a deity, etc) by name as a witness or guarantee to an oath
 b.  to trust implicitly; have complete confidence (in)
3.  to curse, blaspheme, or use swearwords
4.  (when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to promise solemnly on oath; vow
5.  (tr) to assert or affirm with great emphasis or earnestness
6.  (intr) to give evidence or make any statement or solemn declaration on oath
7.  to take an oath in order to add force or solemnity to (a statement or declaration)
8.  informal swear blind to assert emphatically
 
n
9.  a period of swearing
 
[Old English swerian; related to Old Norse sverja, Gothic swaran, Old Frisian swera, German schwören]
 
'swearer
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

swear
O.E. swerian "take an oath" (class VI strong verb; past tense swor, pp. sworen), from P.Gmc. *swarjanan, from root *swar- (cf. O.S. swerian, O.N. sverja, Dan. sverge, O.Fris. swera, M.Du. swaren, O.H.G. swerien, Ger. schwören, Goth. swaren "to swear"), from PIE base *swer- "to speak, say" (cf.
O.C.S. svara "quarrel"). Also related to the second element in answer. The secondary sense of "use bad language" (c.1430) developed from the notion of "invoke sacred names." Swear-word is Amer.Eng. colloquial from 1883. Swear off "desist as with a vow" is from 1898.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

swear by

  1. Have great reliance on or confidence in, as in She swears by her personal physician. [Early 1800s]

  2. Also, swear to. Have reliable knowledge of, be sure of, as in I think she was going to the library but I can't swear to it. [Mid-1700s]

  3. Take an oath by, as in I swear by all the saints in heaven. [Early 1200s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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