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From Middle English ooth, oth, ath, from Old English āþ (oath), from Proto-Germanic *aiþaz (oath), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁óytos (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).



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.
    • 2011, Mark Leyne, "The Tetherballs of Bougainville: A Novel
      There are [] brought all the way from Bougainville to present their birth certificates and testify in this courtroom, under oath, as to their given names.
  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”, in 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. (Should we delete(+) this sense?) (law) An affirmation of the truth of a statement.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


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

  1. (archaic) to pledge


Further readingEdit