Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To acknowledge openly, boldly, and unashamedly; confess: avow guilt. See Synonyms at acknowledge.
  • transitive v. To state positively.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To declare openly and boldly, as something believed to be right; to own, acknowledge or confess frankly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To declare openly, as something believed to be right; to own or acknowledge frankly.
  • transitive v. To acknowledge and justify, as an act done. See Avowry.
  • n. Avowal.
  • v. To bind, or to devote, by a vow.
  • n. A vow or determination.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To own or acknowledge obligation or relation to, as a person: as, he avowed him for his son.
  • To sanction; approve.
  • To declare openly, often with a view to justify, maintain, or defend: as, to avow one's principles.
  • Specifically, in law, to acknowledge and justify, as when the distrainer of goods defends in an action of replevin, and avows the taking, but insists that such taking was legal. See avowry, 1.
  • 5. To admit or confess openly or frankly; acknowledge; own: as, to avow one's self a convert.
  • Synonyms To affirm, assert, profess. Admit, Confess, etc. See acknowledge.
  • In law, to justify or maintain an act done, specifically a distress for rent taken in one's own right.
  • n. An avowal; a bold declaration.
  • To bind with a vow.
  • 2. To devote or dedicate by a vow; vow.
  • To vow to do or keep; promise; undertake.
  • To bind one's self by a vow; make a vow; vow.
  • n. A vow; a promise.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
  • v. admit openly and bluntly; make no bones about

Etymologies

Middle English avowen, from Old French avouer, from Latin advocāre, to call upon; see advocate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French avouer, from Latin advocare ("to call to, call upon, hence to call as a witness, defender, patron, or advocate"), from ad ("to") + vocare ("to call"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • To punish men for beliefs they dare to avow is to risk punishing the sincere and to allow hypocrites to go unpunished.

    LIBERALISM

  • Yet she could not bring herself to avow it openly, either at or after the luncheon.

    Latin America

  • In order to achieve full civil rights now, we avow:

    The Dallas Principles

  • Ennahda party leaders have said that the Assembly will focus on democracy, human rights and a free-market economy -- and will not introduce Sharia law or other Islamic concepts to alter what they avow to be a secular constitutional text.

    Daniel Wagner: Tunisia's Constitutional Challenge

  • They openly avow their objective is to institute Sharia law wherever they rule.

    Ken Blackwell: Arab Spring/Islamist Fall

  • For many Christians, America has become a fierce goddess, who claims more of their loyalty than the God in whose name they have been baptized and whose absolute Lordship they solemnly avow.

    Miroslav Volf: Did 9/11 Make Us Morally 'Better'?

  • Federation, speaking of the National Civic Federation soon after its inception, said: To fall into one another's arms, to avow friendship, to express regret at the injury which has been done, would not alter the facts of the situation.

    THE CLASS STRUGGLE

  • Your position - that they are all guilty until they publicly avow themselves innocent (thus exposing themselves and their reputations to accusations from unscrupulous persons) - is simply irrational, and, as I said before, completely ineffective.

    A friendly suggestion to former McCain campaign staffers. - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState

  • And as they treat of village manners, and rural scenes, it appears to me not ill-timed to avow, that I have hopes of meeting in some degree the approbation of my country.

    Critical Review, 35 (May 1802), 67–75

  • For some time I was lost in conjecture as to the cause of this; but yesterday an idea struck me, and if it is well founded, I conjure you to avow it.

    Chapter 1

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