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.

The essence of a divine oath is an invocation of divine agency to be a guarantor of the oath taker's own honesty and integrity in the matter under question. By implication, this invokes divine displeasure if the oath taker fails in their sworn duties. It therefore implies greater care than usual in the act of the performance of one's duty, such as in testimony to the facts of the matter in a court of law.

A person taking an oath indicates this in a number of ways. The most usual is the explicit "I swear," but any statement or promise that includes "with * as my witness" or "so help me *," with '*' being something or someone the oath-taker holds sacred, is an oath. Many people take an oath by holding in their hand or placing over their head a book of scripture or a sacred object, thus indicating the sacred witness through their action: such an oath is called corporal. However, the chief purpose of such an act is for ceremony or solemnity, and the act does not of itself make an oath.

Read more about Oath:  Historical Development As A Legal Concept, In English Popular Custom, Types of Oaths, Other Meanings

Other articles related to "oath":

Legal Professions - History - Middle Ages
... In 1231 two French councils mandated that lawyers had to swear an oath of admission before practicing before the bishop's courts in their regions, and a similar oath was promulgated ... the same decade, Frederick II, the emperor of the Kingdom of Sicily, imposed a similar oath in his civil courts ... of Lyon in 1275 that all ecclesiastical courts should require an oath of admission ...
Oath - Other Meanings
... The word "oath" is often used to mean any angry expression which includes religious or other strong language used as an expletive ...
So Help Me God - United States - Oath of Citizenship
... The United States Oath of Citizenship (officially referred to as the "Oath of Allegiance," 8 C.F.R ...
... Sacramentum is a Latin word meaning "oath" and later "sacrament," and may refer to Sacramentum (oath), a Roman oath Sacramentum Caritatis, a post-synodal apostolic exhortation published in ...
Second Inauguration Of Bill Clinton - The Inauguration
... The oath to office was administered by Chief Justice William Rehnquist at 1205 pm ... The oath was ended with the traditional words, “So help me God.” The National Anthem was sung and then Arkansas poet Miller Williams read “Of History and ...

Famous quotes containing the word oath:

    On principle I dislike an oath which requires a man to swear he has not done wrong. It rejects the Christian principle of forgiveness on terms of repentance. I think it is enough if the man does no wrong hereafter.
    Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865)

    Friendship is by its very nature freer of deceit than any other relationship we can know because it is the bond least affected by striving for power, physical pleasure, or material profit, most liberated from any oath of duty or of constancy.
    Francine Du Plesssix Gray (20th century)

    Figure a man’s only good for one oath at a time. I took mine to the Confederate States of America.
    Frank S. Nugent (1908–1965)