Definition of oath in US English:

oath

noun

  • 1A solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one's future action or behavior.

    ‘they took an oath of allegiance to the king’
    • ‘Amid daring speeches and solemn oaths we signed our names on the wall committing ourselves to launching the real thing - the real Utopia - no matter who we became in the between years.’
    • ‘Each cardinal will be required to take solemn oaths not to disclose any of their discussions on the pain of excommunication from the Church.’
    • ‘Let's all make a solemn oath to never again bring up how the drivers would have finished under the old points system.’
    • ‘Another woman reporter made a solemn oath to bring her husband and 13-month-old baby to the park next year.’
    • ‘Once again they had managed to get out of a dangerous situation with very little injuries and as the man in the shadows turned from them he made a solemn oath that this would not be the case next time.’
    • ‘Bolingbroke gives his solemn oath that he has come not to usurp the throne but simply to reclaim his rightful goods and title.’
    • ‘Each individual undergoing treatment takes a solemn oath to change their behavior.’
    • ‘They will also have to sign a citizenship pledge as part of an oath of allegiance to the Queen and take part in US-style citizenship ceremonies.’
    • ‘What is a ceremony full of solemn oaths and taking ‘measures’ going to change?’
    • ‘To suggest that I did not administer an oath to these witnesses to help them lie to members of Congress is false, inexcusable.’
    • ‘Democrats and Republicans are on different sides of the aisle, but we have a shared oath and a solemn obligation to serve our country together.’
    • ‘A group of Bradford immigrants will take an oath of allegiance to the Queen and make a pledge to uphold British democratic values in a history-making ceremony at City Hall on Monday.’
    • ‘Participants will deliver an oath of allegiance to the Queen and a pledge of commitment to the United Kingdom, in what is now a compulsory part of the naturalisation process.’
    • ‘The newly-elected students then took solemn oaths to take the school to new heights, fulfil their duties and perform their responsibility without any hesitation.’
    • ‘The Gods witness oaths, and will take note of how the oath-taker regards that oath.’
    • ‘It was useful to recall that he enjoyed a kind of imperial status among his people, who were bound to him with solemn rites and blood-sealed oaths.’
    • ‘But James also believed that he was in practice constrained by solemn oaths made at his coronation to rule according to the ‘laws and customs of the realm’.’
    • ‘For a few moments the couple find themselves in church or in the registry office watched by their closest family and friends, publicly swearing what amounts to a solemn oath of allegiance to each other.’
    • ‘Indeed, in a bull of 1212, Pope Innocent III relaxed the obligations of prior oaths and forbade the exaction of similar oaths in the future.’
    • ‘From early days the taking of solemn religious oaths was regarded as an essential part of the political and social order.’
    vow, sworn statement, promise, pledge, avowal, affirmation, attestation, word of honour, word, bond, guarantee, guaranty
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    1. 1.1 A sworn declaration that one will tell the truth, especially in a court of law.
      • ‘He took the oath, then sat in the familiar seat after declaring his full name and occupation.’
      • ‘Ike, who took the oath of office for his second term as president in 1957, and who everybody liked, died in 1969.’
      • ‘On Monday, senators took their oaths as jurors before the Supreme Court's chief justice for Brown's impeachment trial.’
      • ‘But he could have given a statement to the court without swearing an oath, an option not pursued by his inexperienced lawyer.’
      • ‘They put this view into practice quite straightforwardly, avoided ostentatious clothing and wealth, refused to swear oaths in court, to bear arms or to defend themselves.’
      • ‘We understand that yesterday you raised your hand and took the oath.’
      • ‘Similarly, a civil servant may be compelled by a summons to witness to attend at trial and to give evidence despite the oath, if so required by the court.’
      • ‘As he took the oath, it became obvious to all that his left arm was totally useless.’
      • ‘Practically, to prohibit the taking of an oath by an interstate court would have the effect of preventing an interstate court sitting and the prohibition can be more express.’
      • ‘He told the judge that he stood before her with ‘my right hand on the Bible’ to ‘swear a solemn oath promising to do what the claimants want’.’
      • ‘Other than the preliminary vetting by the trial judge, there is a challenge for cause, peremptory challenges and the oath of the juror.’
      • ‘The officer who was going to witness the oath for me asked me if I was going to omit the line and when I said yes he refused to do it.’
      • ‘Pratt took the oath for the last time at the coroner's court in Castle Street, before heading off to pursue his interest in steam locomotives, gardening and travelling.’
      • ‘Sperry and a number of others to their case to the appellate court and eventually the courts proclaimed the oath to be unconstitutional.’
      • ‘Jurors take an oath to try the defendant on the evidence and to give true verdicts.’
      • ‘Historians may also recall that the first African American Senator, Hiram Revels took the oath of office in February 1870.’
      • ‘Carr entered the witness box and swore an oath before the court, then gave some preliminary details about herself.’
      • ‘And under the juror oath to tell the truth about prior arrests, he also seemed to have an agenda.’
      • ‘One of the sisters, Brenda, sobbed as she took the oath before giving evidence and when asked how close she was to her.’
      • ‘The system can require an oath in criminal court and enforce penalties for perjury.’
  • 2A profane or offensive expression used to express anger or other strong emotions.

    • ‘The oath itself is curse enough, being four pages in length.’
    • ‘She heard the sound of the door closing, and she muttered a few choice oaths under her breath.’
    • ‘It would be impossible to find anywhere a more frightening example of self-imposed curses than these oaths.’
    • ‘Five minutes later, Keyan was in the medical bay, stripped down to his boxers, with a medic fussing over him, muttering oaths about how barbaric the fights were.’
    • ‘Cue for groans and muttered oaths from my neighbors, and that was before they'd stepped out on to Madison, where New York's finest were out in force, checking identities and blocking off half the streets of midtown.’
    • ‘Finally, many oaths include in their language explicit consequences for breaking them.’
    • ‘The thrall muttered an oath under her breath and summoned forth a blast of flame.’
    • ‘Viro walked down the path beyond the witch's house, muttering a thousand oaths against sorcery.’
    • ‘She let out a long string of oaths and expletives, carefully picking herself up from the floor.’
    • ‘Viro cursed and oath and grabbed at the man's cheek and chest, but he had passed into oblivion.’
    • ‘Bahzell lowered his sword slowly and muttered an oath as he surveyed the carnage.’
    • ‘Alyssa kept screaming curses and oaths, and would have broken all the furniture in Alli's bedroom, had Lisa not restrained her.’
    • ‘His steel-toe capped boots rang clear through the cell as he paced impatiently back and forth, muttering oaths and damnation to the barred window that reflected the outside world.’
    • ‘Nikolas broke the kiss and muttered an oath under his breath.’
    • ‘She winced and screamed a very foul and unladylike oath.’
    • ‘Shakespeare knew a thing or two about cursing - Hamlet is essentially a play about swearing and oaths, and in The Tempest, Caliban was taught language but learned to curse his master.’
    • ‘Chad could hear a muttered oath and then footsteps, padding toward the entrance of the house.’
    • ‘Viro cursed an oath, his fair eyes flashing, his muscles tensed.’
    • ‘His oaths and anger had obviously offended Tori.’
    • ‘Thoroughly humiliated and irritated in far too many ways, Em got to her knees, muttering oaths that would have made Uncle Tuan proud.’
    swear word, profanity, expletive, four-letter word, dirty word, obscenity, imprecation, curse, malediction, blasphemy
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Phrases

  • under oath

    • Having sworn to tell the truth, especially in a court of law.

      ‘he was made to testify under oath’
      • ‘It would be more far-reaching than the original investigation because it would place bosses under oath to tell the truth.’
      • ‘I do not want to go into the story of the man who could not tell the truth under oath - at least that is what the High Court judge understood it to be.’
      • ‘I'd like to see some sworn testimony under oath in the suppression hearing.’
      • ‘This Sydney detective came up to Queensland and gave evidence on oath, swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth then lied his head off.’
      • ‘The cross-examination may indicate past criminal acts and suggest whether the defendant is the sort of person who is likely to tell the truth on oath.’
      • ‘He has also testified in a Canadian court under oath to tell the truth.’
      • ‘They still resent being lied to by a Supreme Court nominee who is under oath.’
      • ‘I also believe that it would be very hard for doctors who swear under oath when they join the profession to preserve life to all reasonable measures.’
      • ‘If Gannon sues, that means he gets to testify under oath and be deposed under oath.’
      • ‘These persons have indicated they are willing to swear under oath in front of Congress that they are telling the truth.’

Origin

Old English āth, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch eed and German Eid.

Pronunciation

oath

/ōTH//oʊθ/