oath. 1. A solemn declaration, accompanied by a swearing to God or a revered person or thing, that one’s statement is true or that one will be bound to a promise. • The person making the oath implicitly invites punishment if the statement is untrue or the promise is broken. The legal effect of an oath is to subject the person to penalties for perjury if the testimony is false. [Cases: Oath 1; Witnesses 227. C.J.S. Oaths and Affirmations §§ 1–2, 8–11; Witnesses§ 394.] 2. A statement or promise made by such a declaration. 3. A form of words used for such a declaration. 4. A formal declaration made solemn without a swearing to God or a revered person or thing; AFFIRMATION.
“The word ‘oath’ (apart from its use to indicate a profane expression) has two very different meanings: (1) a solemn appeal to God in attestation of the truth of a statement or the binding character of such a promise; (2) a statement or promise made under the sanction of such an appeal.” Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 515 (3d ed. 1982).
assertory oath (<<schwa>>-s<<schwa>>r-t<<schwa>>-ree). An oath by which one attests to some factual matter, rather than making a promise about one’s future conduct. • A courtroom witness typically takes such an oath.
corporal oath (kor-p<<schwa>>r-<<schwa>>l). An oath made solemn by touching a sacred
object, esp. the Bible. — Also termed solemn oath; corporale sacramentum.
“Oath (Juramentum) Is a calling Almighty God to witness that the Testimony is true; therefore it is aptly termed Sacramentum, a Holy Band, a Sacred Tye, or Godly Vow. And it is called a Corporal Oath, because the party when he swears, toucheth with his right hand the Holy
Evangelists or Book of the New Testament.” Thomas Blount, Nomo-Lexicon: A Law-Dictionary (1670).
decisive oath.Civil law. An oath by a party in a lawsuit, used to decide the case because the party’s adversary, not being able to furnish adequate proof, offered to refer the decision of the case to the party. — Also termed decisory oath.
extrajudicial oath.An oath that, although formally sworn, is taken outside a legal proceeding
or outside the authority of law. — Also termed nonjudicial oath.
false oath.See PERJURY.
judicial oath.An oath taken in the course of a judicial proceeding, esp. in open court. [Cases:
Witnesses 227. C.J.S. Witnesses § 394.] loyalty oath.See oath of allegiance.
nonjudicial oath. 1. An oath taken out of court, esp. before an officer ex parte. — Also termed
voluntary oath. 2. See extrajudicial oath.
oath de calumnia.See oath of calumny.
oath ex officio (eks <<schwa>>-fish-ee-oh).Hist. At common law, an oath under which a
person accused of a crime swore to answer questions before an ecclesiastical court.
oath in litem (lI-tem or -t<<schwa>>m).Civil law. An oath taken by a plaintiff in testifying to the value of the thing in dispute when there is no evidence of value or when the defendant has fraudulently suppressed evidence of value.
oath of allegiance.An oath by which one promises to maintain fidelity to a particular sovereign or government. • This oath is most often administered to a high public officer, to a soldier or sailor, or to an alien applying for naturalization. — Also termed loyalty oath; test oath. oath of calumny (kal-<<schwa>>m-nee).Hist. An oath that a plaintiff or defendant took to attest to that party’s good faith and to the party’s belief that there was a bona fide claim. — Also termed oath de calumnia. See CALUMNY.
oath of office.An oath taken by a person about to enter into the duties of public office, by which the person promises to perform the duties of that office in good faith. [Cases: Officers and
Public Employees 36(1). C.J.S. Officers and Public Employees § 59.]
oath of supremacy.Hist. English law. An oath required of those taking office, along with the oaths of allegiance and abjuration, declaring that the sovereign is superior to the church in ecclesiastical matters.
oath purgatory.See purgatory oath. oath suppletory.See suppletory oath.
pauper’s oath.An affidavit or verification of poverty by a person requesting public funds or services. See poverty affidavit under AFFIDAVIT; IN FORMA PAUPERIS. [Cases: Costs
132(6); Federal Civil Procedure 2734. C.J.S. Costs § 89.]
promissory oath.An oath that binds the party to observe a specified course of conduct in the future. • Both the oath of office and the oath of allegiance are types of promissory oaths. [Cases:
Oath 1. C.J.S. Oaths and Affirmations §§ 1–2, 8–11.]
purgatory oath.An oath taken to clear oneself of a charge or suspicion. — Also termed oath
solemn oath.See corporal oath.
suppletory oath (s<<schwa>>p-l<<schwa>>-tor-ee).1.Civil law. An oath administered to a party, rather than a witness, in a case in which a fact has been proved by only one witness. • In a civil-law case, two witnesses are needed to constitute full proof. See HALF-PROOF. 2. An oath administered to a party to authenticate or support some piece of documentary evidence offered by the party. — Also termed oath suppletory. [Cases: Evidence 354, 376. C.J.S. Evidence §§ 925,
934–939, 959–962.] test oath.See oath of allegiance. voluntary oath.See nonjudicial oath (1).
[Blacks Law 8th]