swear

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swear like a sailor

To use profanities or vulgar language very freely and fluently. (An allusion to the rough language presumed to be used by military personnel.) My little sister has been swearing like a sailor ever since she started learning bad words. My granny is the sweetest old lady you'll ever meet, but she swears like a sailor when she gets on the topic of something or someone she doesn't like.
See also: like, sailor, swear

swear on (one's) mother's grave

To make a very serious, solemn pledge, especially that one is telling the truth. Janet has sworn on her mother's grave that she wasn't the one to betray me, and I believe her. I swear on my mother's grave that if I have a chance to help your campaign, I will.
See also: grave, on, swear

swear a blue streak

To use profane language with great rapidity and intensity. My dad swore a blue streak after he found out I'd put a dent in his car.
See also: blue, streak, swear

swear like a trooper

To use profanities or vulgar language very freely and fluently. (An allusion to the rough language presumed to be used by military personnel.) My granny is the sweetest old lady you'll ever meet, but she swears like a trooper when she gets on the topic of something or someone she doesn't like.
See also: like, swear, trooper

swear on a stack of Bibles

To make a very serious, solemn pledge, especially that one is telling the truth. A hyperbolic reference to the traditional act of placing one's hand on a Bible while taking an oath, such as before a court proceeding. Janet has sworn on a stack of Bibles that she wasn't the one to betray me, and I believe her. I swear on a stack of Bibles that if I have a chance to help your campaign, I will.
See also: Bible, of, on, stack, swear

swear blind

To make a very serious, solemn pledge, especially that one is telling the truth. Janet has sworn blind that she wasn't the one to betray me, and I believe her.
See also: blind, swear

swear up and down

To make a very serious, solemn pledge, especially that one is telling the truth. Janet has sworn up and down that she wasn't the one to betray me, and I believe her.
See also: and, down, swear, up

swear by (someone or something)

To have and proclaim one's complete faith or confidence in someone or something. Not everyone believes that magnets have healing properties, but I've sworn by them for years—they're the only thing that's given me relief from back pain! You should ask our accountant to have a look at your tax returns. He's always been able to save us money, so we swear by him!
See also: swear

swear (one) in

To administer an oath to someone as part of the official process of taking public office. The current president was sworn in after his predecessor died of a sudden heart attack. We will swear you in as newly qualified members of the police force at the end of the ceremony.
See also: swear

swear off (something)

To promise, pledge, or be determined not to do, use, eat, or imbibe something anymore. Thank you, but I don't drink. I swore off alcohol when my father was killed by a drunk driver. Jack swore off cigarettes for his New Year's resolution.
See also: off, swear

swear (that) black is white

To swear, believe, or act like what's true is the opposite of the real situation, especially in order to get what one wants or to advance one's agenda. The government can't keep swearing black is white when it comes to these real estate figures, or else we're going to head into the same economic difficulty we were in ten years ago. The president could swear that black is white, and he would still have people lining up to agree with everything he says.
See also: black, swear, white

swear (one) to secrecy

To make one promise that they won't reveal something that they know about. The company swore me to secrecy before promoting me to work on their latest product. OK, I'll tell you, but I have to swear you to secrecy!
See also: secrecy, swear

swear at someone or something

to curse someone or something. Please don't swear at the children. Scott swore at the police station as he drove by.
See also: swear

swear by someone or something

 
1. Lit. to utter an oath on someone or something. I swear by Jupiter that I will be there on time. She swore by her sainted mother that she would never do it again. The sheriff swore by his badge that he would lock her up if she ever did it again.
2. Fig. to announce one's full faith and trust in someone or something. I would swear by Roger any time. He is a great guy, and he tells the truth. I swear by this computer. It has always served me well.
See also: swear

swear like a trooper

to curse and swear with great facility. (The trooper here refers to a soldier.) Mrs. Wilson was known to swear like a trooper on occasion. The clerk started swearing like a trooper, and the customer started crying.
See also: like, swear, trooper

swear off (something)

to pledge to avoid or abstain from something. I've sworn off desserts. I am on a diet. No dessert for me. I've sworn off.
See also: off, swear

swear on a stack of Bibles

 and swear on one's mother's grave
to state something very earnestly, pledging to tell the truth. (~ a Stack of Bibles refers in an exaggerated way to swearing to tell the truth in court by placing one's hand on a Bible.) I swear on a stack of Bibles that I am telling the truth. Of course, I'm telling the truth. I swear on my mother's grave!
See also: Bible, of, on, stack, swear

swear someone in (as something)

to administer an oath to someone who then officially begins in office. The judge swore Alice in as street commissioner. The judge swore in Alice as the new director.
See also: swear

swear someone to something

to cause someone to take an oath pledging something, such as silence or secrecy, about something. I swore Larry to secrecy, but he told anyway. We were sworn to silence about the new product.
See also: swear

swear something out against someone

to file a criminal complaint against someone. Walter swore a warrant out against Jeff. He swore out a warrant against Tony.
See also: out, swear

swear something to someone

to pledge or promise something to someone. I had to swear my allegiance to the general before I could become one of his bodyguards. We swore our loyalty to our country.
See also: swear

swear to something

to claim that what one says is absolutely true. It is true. I swear to it. I think I have remembered it all, but I couldn't swear to it.
See also: swear

swear (up)on someone or something

to take an oath on someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) He swore upon the Bible to tell the truth. I swear on the memory of my sainted mother that I am telling the truth.
See also: on, swear

swear at

Curse, use abusive, violent, or blasphemous language against, as in He has a way of swearing at all the other drivers on the road. [Late 1600s]
See also: swear

swear by

1. Have great reliance on or confidence in, as in She swears by her personal physician. [Early 1800s]
2. Also, swear to. Have reliable knowledge of, be sure of, as in I think she was going to the library but I can't swear to it. [Mid-1700s]
3. Take an oath by, as in I swear by all the saints in heaven. [Early 1200s]
See also: swear

swear in

Administer a legal or official oath to, as in The new mayor will be sworn in tomorrow. [c. 1700]
See also: swear

swear like a trooper

Freely utter profanity or obscenity, as in The teacher was shocked when she heard one of the fathers begin to swear like a trooper. The troopers in this term were the cavalry, who were singled out for their swearing from the early 1700s on.
See also: like, swear, trooper

swear off

Pledge to renounce or give up, as in I've sworn off cigarettes. This expression was first used for abjuring liquor in the first half of the 1800s but has since been broadened to just about anything.
See also: off, swear

swear on a stack of Bibles

Promise solemnly that what one is about to say is true, as in I swear on a stack of Bibles that I had nothing to do with his dropping out. This term alludes to the practice of placing one's hand on a sacred object while taking an oath, which dates from the mid-10th century. It is still followed in courts of law where a witness being sworn to tell the truth places a hand on the Bible. [Mid-1800s]
See also: Bible, of, on, stack, swear

swear out

Obtain a warrant for arrest by making a charge under oath, as in The school principal swore out a warrant for the arrest of the vandals. [Late 1800s]
See also: out, swear

swear on a stack of Bibles

If someone swears on a stack of Bibles that something is true, they emphasize their promise that it is true. Our leaders swore on a stack of Bibles there was plenty of oil, and, of course, we wanted to believe them.
See also: Bible, of, on, stack, swear

swear blind

BRITISH or

swear up and down

AMERICAN
If someone swears blind that something is true, they insist that they are telling you the truth. He swore blind that he hadn't taken the money. He swears blind that he bears no grudges against Manchester United for sacking him, but I don't know if I believe him.
See also: blind, swear

swear like a trooper

If someone swears like a trooper, they swear a lot. Mo was rude and abusive and swore like a trooper. Note: Nouns such as sailor or marine are sometimes used instead of trooper. The show has a heroine who drinks like a fish and swears like a sailor. Note: A trooper is a soldier.
See also: like, swear, trooper

swear up and down

AMERICAN
If someone swears up and down that something is true, they insist very strongly that they are telling you the truth. He swore up and down he was going to get the cash and bring it right back. I couldn't get it out of my head that maybe it was all part of his plan, although he swore up and down it wasn't. Note: The usual British expression is swear blind.
See also: and, down, swear, up

swear black is white

vigorously maintain anything, however unlikely, in order to get what you want.
See also: black, swear, white

swear blind

affirm something in an emphatic manner. British informal
A North American variant of this expression is swear up and down .
See also: blind, swear

swear like a trooper

swear a great deal.
A trooper was originally a private soldier in a cavalry unit. Troopers were proverbial for their coarse behaviour and bad language at least as early as the mid 18th century: in Pamela ( 1739–40 ), Samuel Richardson writes ‘she curses and storms at me like a Trooper’. Compare with lie like a trooper (at lie).
See also: like, swear, trooper

swear ˈblind (that)...

(informal) say that something is definitely true: She swore blind that she had not taken the money, and I believe her.
See also: swear

swear like a ˈtrooper

(old-fashioned, British English) use many swear words; use bad language: She’s only fourteen, but she swears like a trooper.
A trooper is a soldier.
See also: like, swear, trooper

swear somebody to ˈsecrecy

make somebody promise not to tell a secret: Before telling her what happened, I had sworn her to secrecy.Everyone was sworn to secrecy about what had happened.
See also: secrecy, somebody, swear

swear at

v.
To use abusive, violent, or blasphemous language against someone or something; curse someone or something: The child swore at the teacher and was sent to the principal's office.
See also: swear

swear by

v.
1. To have great reliance on or confidence in someone or something: He swears by his personal physician. She swears by the new computer program.
2. To have reliable knowledge of something; be sure of something: I think that's the person who stole my purse, but I couldn't swear by it.
3. To take an oath by something: I swore by all the angels and saints of heaven that I wouldn't reveal the secret to anyone.
See also: swear

swear in

v.
To administer a legal or official oath to someone: The police department swore in 15 new officers. The Chief Justice will swear the new President in.
See also: swear

swear off

v.
To pledge to renounce or give up something: I have sworn off cigarettes and alcohol.
See also: off, swear

swear out

v.
To obtain some warrant for arrest by making a charge under oath: The victims swore out a warrant against their attacker.
See also: out, swear

swear to

v.
To utter or bind someone to some oath: She swore her friends to secrecy before telling them what happened. The man wanted to confess, but he was sworn to silence.
See also: swear

swear like a trooper

in. to curse and swear with great facility. The clerk started swearing like a trooper, and the customer started crying.
See also: like, swear, trooper

swear on a stack of Bibles

in. to make a very solemn pledge of one’s honesty. (Folksy. Official oaths are sometimes taken with one hand on a Bible. This phrase implies that more Bibles make an even stronger oath.) I swear on a stack of Bibles that I was in Atlanta on the night of January sixteenth.
See also: Bible, of, on, stack, swear
References in periodicals archive ?
It felt more meaningful once I was able to swear again," Davey said, speaking pretty much for the whole family.
My hypothesis is if you don't swear as often, then when you do swear, you're drawing more on those emotional brain structures, because most of your swearing is done only out of strong emotions," she said.
I have used the "I have used the iced water experiment on people who say they don't swear and the invariably say s**t when they are rst handed it.
But he warns the positive ects diminish if swear words are over-used.
The research was carried out by motor oil and lubricant company Nulon UK which has a swear word in one of its products.
Chief Executive William Findlay said: "The results speak for themselves, showing that children whose parents swear in front of them are much more likely to swear.
My last good swear was on Sunday, when I read that John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads' Association, was suggesting live football should be screened after the 9pm watershed to prevent children lip-reading the fruity language of potty-mouthed players.
They argued that, while the swear words ``might be regarded as extreme in polite conversation'', they were ``common currency'' in that business.
It is significant that Hamlet swears revenge in soliloquy; his oath is not public, nor does it ever become so.
The question is whether you would swear during or after the incident, possibly out of shame, awkwardness or just to try to keep your cool.
But you know what, my mum swears quite a lot while my dad does not swear.
Luckily, that other person is usually my boyfriend, who doesn't mind, because he swears like a trouper with Tourette's.
But an unrependent Hodgson said: "I swear all the time, I swear in front of my wife - I never used to when I was a kid but I do now, so there you go.
In New York lawmakers recently introduced legislation banning anonymous online comments, and in Arizona senators are debating legislation that could ban public school instructors from using swear words that are banned from broadcast television, the Wall Street Journal reported.
He could ditch the millionaire lifestyle and just play Sunday morning footie with his mates and then he could swear as much as he liked.