Deesis (de’-e-sis): An adjuration (solemn oath) or calling to witness; or, the vehement expression of desire put in terms of “for someone’s sake” or “for God’s sake.”

A: I swear to God I’ll love you forever.

B: You’re an atheist. How can you swear to God? It’s like me swearing to Horus that I’ll never cheat on you! You’re such a fake. You might as well swear to Dolos, the Greek god of lying!

A: ok, ok, you’re right. I wasn’t thinking—force of habit. The “swear to God” thing has been a mark of sincerity for me ever since I learned it from my neighbor Eddie when I was a kid. He was a huge liar, and said “I swear to God” almost every time he spoke. For some reason it stuck with me, and even though I’ve rejected God, I still use it from time to time. It just pops out.

This is what I meant: I swear I’ll love you forever. There, no God, just me. For our sake and the sake of our child, you’ve got believe my love is manifest in every thing I do—from telling jokes, to paying the bills, to sitting with my arms around you and Bonnie watching the colored flames in the fireplace at Christmas time.

B: Oh honey, that’s sweet. I’ll love you forever too. I’m sorry I doubted your sincerity.

A: I swear to God I’ll never swear to God again. Ha ha! Just kidding. We’ve been married for fifteen years and we still hold hands when we walk through the mall. That’s a sure sign of our love’s endurance. We don’t need promises to make our love true.

B: And that’s a promise? Ha ha! Just kidding. Let’s you, me, and Bonnie go out to Sammy’s Salmon Ladder and have some fun. I love the pounded Salmon on mashed potatoes with seaweed salad and fries. I know how much you and Bonnie like the skin-on teriyaki Salmon on a stick with sliced turnip, a 6 oz. slab of smoked bacon, and 2 vegetarian Slim Jims for chopsticks.

Let’s go! Who are you messaging on your phone?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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