Word Confusion: Abjure versus Adjure

Posted February 29, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 13 October 2017

Actually, it was the rhythm of the words abjure and adjure that caught my eye, or ear, as the case may be.

It’s quite unlikely that a writer would confuse these two words, as they’re quite unlikely to use them! There are so many simpler ways to renounce or urge.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Abjure Adjure
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: abjure

A man in chains hauling a boulder, 1900

“Escaped Convict Magwitch” by J. “Kyd” Clayton Clarke is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

When I’m free, I’ll abjure a criminal life.

Man seated by window and smoky fireplace, with woman shaking fist at him; child falling off stool, 1790

“The Comforts of Matrimony” courtesy of British Cartoon Prints Collection is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ooh, she’s giving him quite the scold. A very definite adjuration!

Part of Grammar:
Verb, transitive

Third person present verb: abjures
Past tense or past participle: abjured
Gerund or present participle: abjuring

Verb, transitive

Third person present verb: adjures
Past tense or past participle: adjured
Gerund or present participle: adjuring

[Formal] Solemnly renounce a belief, cause, or claim [Formal] Urge or request someone solemnly or earnestly to do something

  • To charge, bind, or command earnestly and solemnly, often under oath or the threat of a penalty
It was his refusal to abjure the Catholic faith that led to his death.

The crook was forced to abjure the realm.

“Haqqani invests great hope that a decision by Pakistan’s military to abjure politics may correct these trends” (David Frum, Pakistan, Between Mosque and Military ).

To persuade Iran to abjure weapons, the United States will have to make some kind of deal.
Members of the sect were required to abjure all alcoholic drink.

I adjure you to tell me the truth.

Jeffrey had to adjure himself to keep awake to the difficulties he alone had made.

The magistrate adjured the witness to tell the truth frankly.

Adjective: abjuratory, nonabjuratory, unabjuratory, unabjured
Noun: abjuration, abjurer
Adjective: adjuratory
Noun: adjuration, adjurer, adjuror
History of the Word:
Late Middle English from the Latin abjurare, from ab- (away) + jurare (swear). Late Middle English, in the sense of put a person on oath from the Latin adjurare, from ad- (to) + jurare (swear) from jus or jur- meaning oath.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

Pinterest Photo Credits

Renouncing the Official Seal from “Scenes from the Life of Tao Yuanming” by Chen Hongshou is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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