for·​bid | \ fər-ˈbid How to pronounce forbid (audio) , fȯr-\
forbade\ fər-​ˈbad How to pronounce forbade (audio) , -​ˈbād , fȯr-​ How to pronounce forbade (audio) \ also forbad\ fər-​ˈbad How to pronounce forbad (audio) , fȯr-​ \; forbidden\ fər-​ˈbi-​dᵊn How to pronounce forbidden (audio) , fȯr-​ \; forbidding

Definition of forbid

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to proscribe (see proscribe sense 2) from or as if from the position of one in authority : command against The law forbids stores to sell liquor to minors. Her mother forbids her to go.
2 : to hinder or prevent as if by an effectual command Space forbids further treatment here. Modesty forbids telling what my part was in the affair.



Definition of forbid (Entry 2 of 2)

: accursed he shall live a man forbid— William Shakespeare

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Other Words from forbid


forbidder noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for forbid

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for forbid


forbid, prohibit, interdict, inhibit mean to debar one from doing something or to order that something not be done. forbid implies that the order is from one in authority and that obedience is expected. smoking is forbidden in the building prohibit suggests the issuing of laws, statutes, or regulations. prohibited the sale of liquor interdict implies prohibition by civil or ecclesiastical authority usually for a given time or a declared purpose. practices interdicted by the church inhibit implies restraints or restrictions that amount to prohibitions, not only by authority but also by the exigencies of the time or situation. conditions inhibiting the growth of free trade

Examples of forbid in a Sentence

Verb I forbid you to go! She was forbidden by her parents to marry him. She was forbidden from marrying him. The museum forbids flash photography. The company's rules forbid dating among employees.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During probation, she is forbidden from being alone with any child under 10 years of age. Marc Freeman,, "Woman who cracked nephew baby’s skull gets 12 years," 11 Sep. 2019 They are forbidden to vote, have jobs, or read or write. Hillel Italie,, "Margaret Atwood revisits Gilead in ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ sequel, ‘The Testaments'," 3 Sep. 2019 They are forbidden to vote, have jobs, or read or write. Hillel Italie, Twin Cities, "Margaret Atwood writes sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’," 1 Sep. 2019 The first juror was replaced for conducting her own research on the case, something the judge afterward reminded the other panelists that they are expressly forbidden from doing. Angela Ruggiero, The Mercury News, "Ghost Ship trial: How often are trials upended by juror misconduct?," 20 Aug. 2019 And in this case, they are forbidden at multiple levels. Caroline Tew,, "Philippa Gregory on the challenges and thrills of launching her new series," 19 Aug. 2019 Zack Gottsagen, a man with Down syndrome, ebulliently plays Tyler’s 22-year-old sudden companion, Zak, who hides on Tyler’s boat after busting out of a nursing home where he has been left to rot and that he is forbidden to leave. Kyle Smith, National Review, "A Movie Star with Down Syndrome," 15 Aug. 2019 In my old religion, we were forbidden from reading anything that criticized our religion. Amber Scorah,, "Losing my religion," 8 Aug. 2019 It is forbidden to farm agricultural land in this subsection, but people continue to live there, Smith says. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Why Scientists Are Making Vodka in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone," 8 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'forbid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of forbid


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1606, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for forbid

Verb and Adjective

Middle English forbidden, from Old English forbēodan, from for- + bēodan to bid — more at bid entry 1

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Statistics for forbid

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for forbid

The first known use of forbid was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for forbid


How to pronounce forbid (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forbid

: to order (someone) not to do something
formal : to say that (something) is not allowed


for·​bid | \ fər-ˈbid How to pronounce forbid (audio) \
forbade\ -​ˈbad \; forbidden\ -​ˈbi-​dᵊn \; forbidding

Kids Definition of forbid

: to order not to do something I forbid you to go!

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More from Merriam-Webster on forbid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forbid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with forbid

Spanish Central: Translation of forbid

Nglish: Translation of forbid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forbid for Arabic Speakers

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