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  1. Affirm
  2. Cajole
  3. Insist
  4. Pronounce
  5. Shout

What's your opinion?

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Conjure could be, with some semantic magic. – Matt E. Эллен May 26 '11 at 12:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you look up abjure in a dictionary, you will find:

formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief

The two most likely antonyms are insist and affirm. But affirm's is closer:

confirm: establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts

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The opposite of abjure is objure. Per the OED:

Etymology: classical Latin obiūrāre to bind by an oath < ob- prefix + iūrāre to swear (see jurant adj. and n.). Compare Middle French objurer (1460 as oubjurer).

  1. trans. To bind by or charge under oath; to urge.

    • 1609 R. Cawdrey Table Alph., ― Obiure, binde by oath.
    • 1993 Irish Times (Nexis) 9 Feb. 17 — We are objured, in our so-called freedom of monetary exchange, to be patriotic.
  2. intr. To utter an oath, to curse. Obs.

    • 1830 Fraser’s Mag. II. 178 ― As the people only laughed at him, he cried the··more vehemently; nay, at last, began objuring, foaming, imprecating.

It is not particularly common.

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I am not very familiar with the term "abjure". I may have seen it before, but I do not recall its specific meaning, nor the context in which I saw it.

Here is how I quickly processed this question, and came up with the same answer as Billy ONeal -- despite not being familiar with the word. Note that the actual meanings of the words are as Billy ONeal looked them up; the guesses below are just approximations. Approximations are usually good enough to do well on a test like the SAT or GRE:

  • The unknown word is a verb.
  • All of the proposed opposites are also verbs, so we cannot rule any of them out on part-of-speech grounds.
  • Break the unknown word into its parts: "ab" + "jure".
  • "ab-" means "not" or "negate". (Google defines "ab-" as meaning "away" or "from", which is a weaker form of "negate".)
  • "-jure" means "having to do with the law", as in "judge", "jury", "jurisprudence", and "jurisdiction".
  • Thus, "abjure" might mean "declare not to be the law" or "claim not to be binding".
  • "affirm" is a legal term that means "uphold a ruling" or "agree that something is valid". It is therefore opposite in meaning to the guess.

Here is an optional confirmation:

  • Break down "affirm" into its parts: "ac" + "c->f" + "firm". (Google breaks it down as "ad" + "d→f" + "firm", but the idea is the same.)
  • In English, double-consonants near the start of Latin-derived words are usually the result of a multi-letter prefix being modified to match the root word's first letter. They are usually not the result of a single-letter prefix like "a".
  • "ac-" means "with". (Google defines "ad-" as meaning "toward".)
  • "-firm" means "solid".
  • Thus, "affirm" might mean "make solid", which is consistent with "uphold a ruling".
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