Definition of “swear” - English Dictionary

“swear” in British English

See all translations

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 real shock, the first time I heard my mother swear.
When the cab driver started to swear at him, he walked away.

More examples

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 (= promised definitely) (that) she didn't know what had happened to the money.
[ + to infinitive ] New gang members must swear to obey the gang leaders at all times.
In some countries, witnesses in court have to swear on the Bible.
I swore an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
A few of us knew what was going to happen, but we were sworn to secrecy (= 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 completely certain about it).

More examples

  • 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 Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)