In a story by A. Blackwood, I struggle with the meaning of the word "foresworn":

It was love, perhaps, that carried and interpreted thus the instantaneous wireless message—the love that lay undelivered in my heart, as in her own, and, since she was foresworn already, lay unrecognized.

From the context, I would expect it to be something like "promised to someone else", but no dictionary I consulted offered a meaning like that.


She was renounced (Wiktionary) — the narrator had decided not to pursue her. Compare "swear off of" — to put entirely out of one's life.

The "e" in "foreswear" is an unfortunate etymological inconsistency. Unlike "forego/forgo" and "forebear/forbear", where it distinguishes antecedence from absence, here it seems to contribute nothing. I prefer the spelling without "e" to better align with the other words that use the morpheme.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.