Hopefully you are fine!

"To Adjure" means:

1: to ask or order someone to do something. 2: to command or enjoin solemnly, as under oath.

But, in the following passage which is from an article of Encyclopedia Britannica, it seems to have been used in the meaning of "to shun a faith"

Henry’s hesitations encouraged the formation of the powerful Holy League against the Huguenots; and, after the assassination of Henry III in 1589, his successor, the Protestant heir Henry IV, could pacify the kingdom only by adjuring Protestantism (July 1593), accepting Catholicism, and thus depriving the League of its pretext for resisting him. The Huguenots after 40 years of strife obtained by their constancy Henry IV’s promulgation of the Edict of Nantes (April 1598), the charter of their religious and political freedom.

Here, clearly, Henry III announces that he is no longer a Protestant and accepts Catholicism. And, from historical perspective, the case is but this.

Similarly, I was doing some research on the web and I came across the following passage:

On July 25, 1593, Henri IV adjured his Protestant faith and became a full fledged Catholic at a ceremony at ..........

And, here "adjured" clearly means "repudiated".

On the other hand, there is a word which is very much similar to this one, i.e, "abjure" which exactly means "to say formally or publicly that you no longer agree with a belief or way of behaving". And, if we replace "adjure" with "abjure", everything fits well. So, there is possibility that there is a typo and "b" was mistakenly replaced by "d". But, then, we get, if we accept that it is a type in fact, the same typo in two separate resources. (Although, it is possible that the latter source may be based on the former one.)

Question: I am not getting this meaning in any of the online dictionary. -------- Is this an archaic use which is not used in modern English -------- or can we put it in the ambit of the aforementioned meanings with some allegorical interpretation which I am unaware of -------- or is it the case of type and it is, in fact, "abjure"?

Thanks for you time!


Both from Latin, abjure and adjure are constructed from the same root, but with prefixes with opposite meanings: ab- means ‘away from’ and ad- means ‘to, toward’. While the meaning of abjure has not changed since it entered English in the early 15th century, the somewhat earlier attested adjure originally meant ‘to bind by or question under oath’: thus an oath away from something versus an oath to something.

What Henry of Navarre did to secure the French throne was to renounce under oath his Protestant faith:

The decision taken by Henry IV to abjure his Calvinist religion and accept instruction in the Roman Catholic faith was not taken lightly.

The faithful counsellor clung to his master even after his apostasy; perhaps recognising the almost irresistible force of the constraint which made Henry abjure the reformed religion, but at the same time scorning with infinite bitterness the unscrupulous servility of the Protestants who changed their religion like their court dress.

However, this prudent minister advised Henry to abjure protestantism, that he might put an end to the miseries of France, and obtain the throne without bloodshed.

That two reputable published sources confused the two words is unfortunate, but understandable.

  • Thank you very much. You explained the the words at etymological plane which was really interesting and knowledgeable. Thanks once again! – Mushrraf Baig Ashraf Apr 17 '18 at 0:40

I'm quite sure that you have a typo.
Abjure means to renounce or quit an oath or belief.

Latin ab (from) and (verb) iuare (take an oath)

Adjure means the opposite.
I can see no way adjure could be correct for your citations.
Abjure certainly was what was meant.

  • Yep, I fully agree. It's a typo, and "abjure" makes sense. – Noldorin Apr 16 '18 at 21:42
  • @J. Taylor Thanks for your kind and well-informed confirmation! – Mushrraf Baig Ashraf Apr 17 '18 at 0:42

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