Did You Know?
Just as a jury swears to produce an unbiased verdict, and a witness swears to tell the truth on pain of perjury, those who abjure their former ways "swear them away." Abjure (as well as jury and perjury) comes from Latin jurare, which means "to swear" (and which in turn is based on the root jus, meaning "law"), plus the prefix ab-, meaning "away." These days, we can casually abjure (that is, abstain from) various vices, but in the 15th and 16th centuries to abjure was a matter of renouncing something under oath—and sometimes a matter of life and death. For example, during the Spanish Inquisition, individuals were given the choice between abjuring unacceptable beliefs and being burned at the stake.