swear Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Definition of “swear” - English Dictionary

"swear" in British English

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swearverb

uk   /sweər/  us   /swer/ (swore, sworn)
  • swear verb (USE RUDE WORDS)

B2 [I] to use words that are ​rude or ​offensive as a way of ​emphasizing what you ​mean or as a way of ​insulting someone or something: It was a ​realshock, the first ​time I ​heard my ​mother swear. When the ​cabdriverstarted to swear at him, he ​walked away.

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  • swear verb (PROMISE)

B2 [I or T] to ​promise or say ​firmly that you are ​telling the ​truth or that you will do something or ​behave in a ​particular way: I don't ​know anything about what ​happened, I swear (it). [+ (that)] You might ​find it ​difficult to ​believe, but I swear (that) the ​guy just came up to me and gave me the ​money.UK informal She swore blind (= ​promiseddefinitely) (that) she didn't ​know what had ​happened to the ​money. [+ to infinitive] New ​gangmembers must swear toobey the ​gangleaders at all ​times. In some ​countries, ​witnesses in ​court have to swear on the ​Bible. I swore an oath to ​tell the ​truth, the ​wholetruth, and nothing but the ​truth. A few of us ​knew what was going to ​happen, but we were sworn tosecrecy (= we were made to ​promise to ​keep it a ​secret). I ​think his ​birthday is on the 5th, but I wouldn't/couldn't swear to it (= I am not ​completelycertain about it).

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  • He swore he would ​avenge his brother's ​death.
  • He swore he'd ​pay her back for all she'd done to him.
  • Soldiers must swear ​allegiance to the Crown.
  • I swear to ​God I didn't ​know about it.
  • I ​want you to swear that you will never ​try to ​see her again.
(Definition of swear from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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