oath

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English ooth, oth, ath, from Old English āþ (oath), from Proto-Germanic *aiþaz (oath), from Proto-Indo-European *oyt- (oath). Cognate with Scots aith, athe (oath), North Frisian ith, iss (oath), West Frisian eed (oath), Dutch eed (oath), German Eid (oath), Swedish ed (oath), Icelandic eið (oath), Latin ūtor (use, employ, avail), Old Irish óeth (oath).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

oath (plural oaths)

  1. A solemn pledge or promise to a god, king, or another person, to attest to the truth of a statement or contract
    • 1924, Aristotle, Metaphysics, Translated by W. D. Ross. Nashotah, Wisconsin, USA: The Classical Library, 2001. Available at: <http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/metaphysics/>. Book 1, Part 3.
      for they made Ocean and Tethys the parents of creation, and described the oath of the gods as being by water,
  2. The affirmed statement or promise accepted as equivalent to an oath.
  3. A light or insulting use of a solemn pledge or promise to a god, king or another person, to attest to the truth of a statement or contract the name of a deity in a profanity, as in swearing oaths.
    • 2013 June 14, Sam Leith, “Where the profound meets the profane”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 1, page 37: 
      Swearing doesn't just mean what we now understand by "dirty words". It is entwined, in social and linguistic history, with the other sort of swearing: vows and oaths. Consider for a moment the origins of almost any word we have for bad language – "profanity", "curses", "oaths" and "swearing" itself.
  4. A curse.
  5. (law) An affirmation of the truth of a statement.

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Translations[edit]

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Verb[edit]

oath (third-person singular simple present oaths, present participle oathing, simple past and past participle oathed)

  1. (archaic) to pledge
  2. shouting out (as in 'oathing obsenities')

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