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oath

[ohth] /oʊθ/
noun, plural oaths
[ohth z, ohths] /oʊðz, oʊθs/ (Show IPA)
1.
a solemn appeal to a deity, or to some revered person or thing, to witness one's determination to speak the truth, to keep a promise, etc.:
to testify upon oath.
2.
a statement or promise strengthened by such an appeal.
3.
a formally affirmed statement or promise accepted as an equivalent of an appeal to a deity or to a revered person or thing; affirmation.
4.
the form of words in which such a statement or promise is made.
5.
an irreverent or blasphemous use of the name of God or anything sacred.
6.
any profane expression; curse; swearword:
He slammed the door with a muttered oath.
Idioms
7.
take an oath, to swear solemnly; vow.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English ooth, Old English āth; cognate with German Eid
Can be confused
oaf, oath.
Synonyms
2. vow, pledge. 5. profanity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for take an oath

oath

/əʊθ/
noun (pl) oaths (əʊðz)
1.
a solemn pronouncement to affirm the truth of a statement or to pledge a person to some course of action, often involving a sacred being or object as witness related adjective juratory
2.
the form of such a pronouncement
3.
an irreverent or blasphemous expression, esp one involving the name of a deity; curse
4.
on oath, upon oath, under oath
  1. under the obligation of an oath
  2. (law) having sworn to tell the truth, usually with one's hand on the Bible
5.
take an oath, to declare formally with an oath or pledge, esp before giving evidence
Word Origin
Old English āth; related to Old Saxon, Old Frisian ēth, Old High German eid
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 take an oath

oath

n.

Old English "oath, judicial swearing, solemn appeal to deity in witness of truth or a promise," from Proto-Germanic *aithaz (cf. Old Norse eiðr, Swedish ed, Old Saxon, Old Frisian eth, Middle Dutch eet, Dutch eed, German eid, Gothic aiþs "oath"), from PIE *oi-to- "an oath" (cf. Old Irish oeth "oath"). In reference to careless invocations of divinity, from late 12c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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take an oath in the Bible

a solemn appeal to God, permitted on fitting occasions (Deut. 6:13; Jer. 4:2), in various forms (Gen. 16:5; 2 Sam. 12:5; Ruth 1:17; Hos. 4:15; Rom. 1:9), and taken in different ways (Gen. 14:22; 24:2; 2 Chr. 6:22). God is represented as taking an oath (Heb. 6:16-18), so also Christ (Matt. 26:64), and Paul (Rom. 9:1; Gal. 1:20; Phil. 1:8). The precept, "Swear not at all," refers probably to ordinary conversation between man and man (Matt. 5:34,37). But if the words are taken as referring to oaths, then their intention may have been to show "that the proper state of Christians is to require no oaths; that when evil is expelled from among them every yea and nay will be as decisive as an oath, every promise as binding as a vow."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for take an oath

oath

sacred or solemn voluntary promise usually involving the penalty of divine retribution for intentional falsity and often used in legal procedures. It is not certain that the oath was always considered a religious act; such ancient peoples as the Germanic tribes, Greeks, Romans, and Scythians swore by their swords or other weapons. These peoples, however, were actually invoking a symbol of the power of a war god as a guarantee of their trustworthiness.

Learn more about oath with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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