for·​bid | \ fər-ˈbid How to pronounce forbid (audio) , fȯr- \
forbade\ fər-​ˈbad How to pronounce forbid (audio) , -​ˈbād , fȯr-​ How to pronounce forbid (audio) \ also forbad\ fər-​ˈbad How to pronounce forbid (audio) , fȯr-​ \; forbidden\ fər-​ˈbi-​dᵊn How to pronounce forbid (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 Too often in the United States, people seeking relief—or, God forbid, pleasure—have few ways to access a legal, regulated supply of substances. Zachary Siegel, The New Republic, "How America Segregates Drug Use," 15 Mar. 2021 God forbid, knock on wood, something happens and things like that? Broderick Turner Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Anthony Davis on his five-year deal with the Lakers: Best to lock it in," 4 Dec. 2020 God forbid a Black woman walk through the world filled with joy. National Geographic, "What Kamala Harris means," 9 Nov. 2020 Another arrest followed at O'Hare in 2016 for violating her probation, which forbid her from setting foot on airport property. Lauren M. Johnson, CNN, "'Serial stowaway' Marilyn Hartman arrested again at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport," 17 Mar. 2021 The justices spent two hours in a telephone hearing reviewing the protections provided by the Voting Rights Act (VRA), first passed in 1965 to forbid laws that result in discrimination based on race. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court appears to favor upholding voting laws that lower court found unfair to minorities," 2 Mar. 2021 Members of a House committee advanced a proposal to forbid the use of private money to help conduct elections, such as by buying equipment or funding voter education. Melanie Mason Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "The battle over voting restrictions is playing out nationwide. Arizona Republicans are leading the way," 26 Feb. 2021 Minnesota is one of 23 states where HOAs are allowed to forbid members from adding solar to their homes, according to Solar United Neighbors. Star Tribune, "Minnesota homeowners, solar groups back solar panel bill," 20 Feb. 2021 In a series of motions filed this week, Mr. Nelson asked the court to allow testimony about Mr. Floyd’s drug use and to forbid anyone at trial from referring to Mr. Floyd as a victim. New York Times, "Why William Barr Rejected a Plea Deal in the George Floyd Killing," 10 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for forbid

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for forbid

Last Updated

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Forbid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for forbid



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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Comments on forbid

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