swear on a stack of bibles

Idioms & Phrases

swear on a stack of Bibles

Promise solemnly that what one is about to say is true, as in I swear on a stack of Bibles that I had nothing to do with his dropping out. This term alludes to the practice of placing one's hand on a sacred object while taking an oath, which dates from the mid-10th century. It is still followed in courts of law where a witness being sworn to tell the truth places a hand on the Bible. [Mid-1800s]

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