Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To renounce or repudiate under oath.
  • transitive v. To renounce seriously.
  • transitive v. To disavow under oath; deny.
  • transitive v. To make (oneself) guilty of perjury.
  • intransitive v. To swear falsely; commit perjury.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To renounce or deny something, especially under oath.
  • v. To commit perjury.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To reject or renounce upon oath; hence, to renounce earnestly, determinedly, or with protestations.
  • transitive v. To deny upon oath.
  • intransitive v. To swear falsely; to commit perjury.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To reject or renounce upon oath; renounce earnestly, determinedly, or with protestations; abjure.
  • To deny upon oath or with strong asseveration.
  • Synonyms Renounce, Recant, Abjure, etc. See renounce. For forswear one's self, see perjure.
  • To swearfalsely; commit perjury.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure

Etymologies

Middle English forsweren, from Old English forswerian : for-, wrongly; see for- + swerian, to swear; see swear.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English forsweren, from Old English forswerian ("to swear falsely"). More at for- +‎ swear. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If bent on wilful aims and lewd I fain forswear thee, ah!

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • The word forswear has appeared in 15 Times articles over the past year, including in a March 14, 2010

    NYT > Home Page

  • By those laws, men were forbid to perjure themselves, or to forswear, that is, swear falsely.

    Barnes New Testament Notes

  • The questionnaires also asked the American citizens whether they were willing to "forswear" allegiance to the Emperor of Japan (an allegiance they had never sworn in the first place) and whether they were willing to serve on combat duty in the U.S. armed forces "wherever ordered."

    Is That Legal?: October 2007 Archives

  • He must exhibit "humility of spirit," forswear "vengeance" on his political enemies and, MacDonald adds, "accept whatever justice is necessary to resolve the sin."

    The Road To Repentance

  • The grim little smile upon her lips when one big girl above Ruth went down before "forswear," spelling it with an extra "e," showed that the teacher considered the miss deserved to fail because of her heedlessness.

    Ruth Fielding of the Red Mill Or, Jasper Parloe's Secret

  • Thus they relate to the word "forswear," in the first.

    A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 3

  • "forswear," they must relate to perjury, and if to perjury, then to a civil oath, or to an oath, where an appeal is made to God by man, as to something relating to himself.

    A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 3

  • In return, Islamabad must forswear its use of terrorism to weaken India and stop expecting independent Afghanistan to act as a vassal.

    A Model for Pakistan's Revival

  • In return, Islamabad must forswear its use of terrorism to weaken India, and stop expecting independent Afghanistan to act as a vassal.

    Indonesian Lessons for Pakistan

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