Oath. Any form of attestation by which a person signifies that he is bound in conscience to perform an act faithfully and truthfully. Vaughn v. State, 146 Tex.Cr.R. 586, 177 S.W.2d 59, 60. An affirmation of truth of a statement, which renders one willfully asserting untrue statements punishable for perjury. U. S. v. Klink, D.C.Wyo., 3 F. Supp. 208, 210. An outward pledge by the person taking it that his attestation or promise is made under an immediate sense of responsibility to God. Morrow v. State, 140 Neb. 592, 300 N.W. 843, 845. A solemn appeal to the Supreme Being in attestation of the truth of some statement. State v. Jones, 28 Idaho 428, 154 P. 378, 381; Tyler, Oaths 15. An external pledge or asseveration, made in verification of statements made, or to be made, coupled with an appeal to a sacred or venerated object, in evidence of the serious and reverent state of mind of the party, or with an invocation to a supreme being to witness the words of the party, and to visit him with punishment if they be false. June v. School Dist. No. 11, Southfield Tp., 283 Mich. 533, 278 N,W. 676, 677, 116 A.L.R. 581. In its broadest sense, the term is used to include all forms of attestation by which a party signifies that he is bound in conscience to perform the act faithfully and truly. In a more restricted sense, it excludes all those forms of attestation or promise which are not accompanied by an imprecation.
The term has been variously defined: as, "a solemn invocation of the vengeance of the Deity upon the witness if he do not declare the whole truth, so far as he knows it." 1 Stark. Ev. 22 or, "a religious asseveration by which a person renounces the mercy and imprecates the vengeance of Heaven if he do not speak the truth," 1 Leach 430: or, as "a religious act by which the party invokes God not only to witness the truth and sincerity of his promise, but also to avenge his imposture or violated faith, or, in other words, to punish his penury it he shall be guilty of it," 10 Toullier, n. 343; Puffendorff, b. 4, c. 2, § 4. The essential idea of an oath would seem to be. however, that of a recognition of God's authority by the party taking it, and an undertaking to accomplish the transaction to which it refers as required by his laws.
See Kissing the Book.
Assertory Oath. One relating to a past or present fact or state of facts, as distinguished from a "promissory" oath which relates to future conduct; particularly, any oath required by law other than in judicial proceedings and upon induction to office, such, for example, as an oath to be made at the custom-house relative to goods imported.
Corporal Oath. See Corporal.
Decisive or Decisory Oath. In the civil law, where one of the parties to a suit, not being able to prove his charge, offered to refer the decision of the cause to the oath of his adversary, which the adversary was bound to accept, or tender the same proposal back again, otherwise the whole was taken as confessed by him. Cod. 4, 1, 12.
Extrajudicial Oath. One not taken in any judicial proceeding, or without any authority or requirement of law, though taken formally before a proper person. State v. Scatena, 84 Minn. 281, 87 N.W. 764.
Judicial Oath. One taken in some judicial proceeding or in relation to some matter connected with judicial proceedings. One taken before an officer in open court, as distinguished from a "non-judicial" oath, which is taken before an officer ex parte or out of court. State v. Dreifus, 38 La.Ann. 877.
Official Oath. One taken by an officer when he assumes charge of his office, whereby he declares that he will faithfully discharge the duties of the same, or whatever else may be required by statute in the particular case.
Poor Debtor's Oath. See Poor.
Promissory Oaths. Oaths which bind the party to observe a certain course of conduct, or to fulfill certain duties, in the future, or to demean himself thereafter in a stated manner with reference to specified objects or obligations; such, for example, as the oath taken by a high executive officer, a legislator, a judge, a person seeking naturalization, an attorney at law. Case v. People, 6 Abb. N. C., N.Y., 151. A solemn appeal to God, or, in a wider sense, to some superior sanction or a sacred or revered person in witness of the inviolability of a promise or undertaking. People ex rel. Bryant v. Zimmerman, 241 N.Y. 406, 150 N.E. 497, 499, 43 A.L.R. 909.
Qualified Oath. One the force of which as an affirmation or denial may be qualified or modified by the circumstances under which it is taken or which necessarily enter into it and constitute a part of it; especially thus used in Scotch law.
Suppletory Oath. In the civil and ecclesiastical law, the testimony of a single witness to a fact is called "half-proof," on which no sentence can be founded; in order to supply the other hail of proof, the party himself (plaintiff or defendant) is admitted to be examined in his own behalf, and the oath administered to him for that purpose is called the "suppletory oath," because it supplies the necessary quantum of proof on which to found the sentence. 3 Bl. Comm. 371.
This term, although without application in American law in its original sense, is sometimes used as a designation of a party's oath required to be taken in authentication or support of some piece of documentary evidence which he offers, for example, his books of account.
Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Revised Edition, pp. 1220-1221.
Black's Law Dictionary Index