Kiss the Book
After taking a legal oath, we are commanded to kiss the book,
which in our English courts is the New Testament, except when Jews “are
sworn in.” This is the kiss of confirmation or promise to act in
accordance with the words of the oath (Moravians and Quakers are not
required to take legal oaths). The kiss, in this case, is a public
acknowledgment that you adore the deity whose book you kiss, as a
It is now permitted to affirm, if persons like to do so. Mr.
Bradlaugh refused to take an oath, and after some years of contention
the law was altered.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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