swear

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Related to swear to: swear words

swear

v. 1) to declare under oath that one will tell the truth (sometimes "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth"). Failure to tell the truth, and do so knowingly, is the crime of perjury. 2) to administer an oath to a witness that he/she will tell the truth, which is done by a notary public, a court clerk, a court reporter, or anyone authorized by law to administer oaths. 3) to install into office by administering an oath. 4) to use profanity. (See: oath, perjury, notary public)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

swear

to take an oath.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

TO SWEAR. To take an oath, judicially administered. Vide Affirmation; Oath.
     2. To swear also signifies to use such profane language as is forbidden by law. This is generally punished by statutory provisions in the several states.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
I'd just as soon tell you who I am, though, if you'll swear to keep mum, for I ain't no Phillips, either."
The manner of their swearing is this: they set a sheep in the midst of them, and rub it over with butter, the heads of families who are the chief in the nation lay their hands upon the head of the sheep, and swear to observe their promise.
For instance, people with higher social status can even swear to people from lower social status or vice versa.