Abjure - adjure

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These are two words with similar derivations, but very different meanings - almost opposite to each other. The stress is on the second syllable in both cases, and they can be hard to tell apart in speech - though they are not homophones.

Both are derived from the Latin verb iūrāre 'to swear'. One has the prefix ab-, with the general sense of '[away] from'; the other has the prefix ad-, with the general sense of 'towards'.
  • To abjure something is '˜to swear not to do it', or 'to give it up': "because of my hangover, I abjure alcohol." In more historical contexts, one could abjure a belief or a loyalty: "In swearing allegiance to the Catholic King, he was in effect abjuring his protestant beliefs."
  • 'To adjure' on the other hand is to charge or entreat solemnly or earnestly as if under oath or under the penalty of a curse as in: "I adjure all students to avoid the crime of plagiarism."