Word of the Day – Forswear

Word of the Day : June 24, 2021


verb for-SWAIR


1 : to make a liar of (oneself) under or as if under oath

2 a : to reject or renounce under oath

b : to renounce earnestly

3 : to deny under oath

4 : to swear falsely

Did you know?

Forswear (which is also sometimes spelled foreswear) is the modern English equivalent of Old English forswerian. It can suggest denial (“[Thou] would’st forswear thy own hand and seal” — John Arbuthnot, John Bull) or perjury (“Is it the interest of any man … to lie, forswear himself, indulge hatred, seek desperate revenge, or do murder?” — Charles Dickens, American Notes). But in current use, it most often has to do with giving something up, as in “The feuding parties agreed to forswear violence” and “She refused to forswear her principles.”


“The first instance of oath-taking is common in our everyday lives. Most weddings feature a couple forswearing all others, pledging fidelity to each other as long as they live. Witnesses in a courtroom (or Senate and House hearings) place their hands on a Bible and ‘swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.'” — William Shaw, The Pilot (Southern Pines, North Carolina), 6 Mar. 2021

“All jobs, for the most part, within qualifying companies are subsidized. And, other than the limits on executive compensation, there are no restrictions on how companies spend their subsidy payments, including no requirement to forswear layoffs.” — Patrick Brethour, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 14 May 2021