Abjure, renounce, forswear, recant and retract all mean to withdraw one’s word or professed belief.
Abjure implies a firm and final rejecting or abandoning under oath.
- He abjured the Protestant faith and became King in 1594.
Renounce often equals abjure but may carry the meaning of disclaim or disown.
- After a period of imprisonment she renounced terrorism.
Forswear may add to abjure an implication of perjury or betrayal.
- The party was offered a share of government if it forswore violence.
Recant stresses the withdrawing or denying of something professed or taught.
- White House officials ordered Williams to recant.
Retract applies to the withdrawing of a promise, an offer, or an accusation.
- Mr Smith hurriedly sought to retract the statement, but it had just been broadcast on national radio.