Definition of oath
oath (plural oaths)
- A solemn pledge or promise to a god, king, or another person, to attest to the truth of a statement or contract
- the affirmed statement or promise accepted as equivalent to an oath
- 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
- a curse
- (law) An affirmation of the truth of a statement.
oath (third-person singular simple present oaths, present participle oathing, simple past and past participle oathed)
- (archaic) To pledge.
- Shouting out. (as in 'oathing obsenities')
An oath (from Anglo-Saxon āð, also called plight) is either a statement of fact or a promise calling upon something or someone that the oath maker considers sacred, usually God, as a witness to the binding nature of the promise or the truth of the statement of fact. To swear is to take an oath, to make a solemn vow. Those who conscientiously object to making an oath will often make an affirmation instead.
In law, oaths are made by a witness to a court of law before giving testimony and usually by a newly-appointed government officer to the people of a state before taking office. In both of those cases, though, an affirmation can be usually substituted. A written statement, if the author swears the statement is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is called an affidavit. The oath given to support an affidavit is frequently administered by a notary, who will certify the giving of the oath by affixing her or his seal to the document. Willfully delivering a false oath (or affirmation) is the crime of perjury.
Source: Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.