by Jove

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From Latin pro Iovem. Ellipsis of a full oath of the form "I swear by Jove that…" Originally a literal oath; later a minced oath.


by Jove

  1. (obsolete, Classics) Invocation of the Roman god Jupiter.
    • 1575, “Apius and Virginia”, in Isaac Reed, Octavius Gilchrist, editors, A Select Collection of Old Plays, London: Septimus Prowett, published 1826, page 353:
      By Jove, master marchant, by sea or by land / Would get but smale argent if I did not stand / His very good master, I may say to you, / When he hazards in hope what hap will insue.
    • a. 1639, John Webster, Appius and Virginia, London: printed for Humphrey Moseley, published 1659, act 3, scene 1, page 38:
      By Joves help I'l[sic] be there.
  2. (dated, chiefly British) minced oath for by God, Jove referring to Jupiter.


Related terms[edit]