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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English forsweren, from Old English forswerian (to swear falsely). Cognate with Old Saxon farswerian, Old High German farsweren, German verschwören. More at for- +‎ swear.


  • IPA(key): /fə(ɹ)ˈswɛə(ɹ)/, /fɔː(ɹ)ˈswɛə(ɹ)/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛə(ɹ)


forswear (third-person singular simple present forswears, present participle forswearing, simple past forswore, past participle forsworn)

  1. (transitive) To renounce or deny something, especially under oath.
    We forswear allegiance and support for the Economic Freedom Fighters.
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew:
      Never to woo her more; but do forswear her.
    • 1726, John Dryden, translating Juvenal, Satires[1]:
      Like Innocence, and as serenely bold / As Truth, how loudly He forswears thy Gold!.
    • 1995, Philip Roth, Sabbath's Theater[2]:
      Either forswear fucking others or the affair is over.
    • 2008, Philip Roth, Indignation:
      The sheer unimaginableness of coming into her mouth — of coming into anything other than the air or a tissue or a dirty sock — was an allurement too stupendous for a novice to forswear.
  2. (intransitive or reflexive) To commit perjury; to break an oath.