forbear

1 of 2

verb

for·​bear fȯr-ˈber How to pronounce forbear (audio)
fər-
forbore fȯr-ˈbȯr How to pronounce forbear (audio)
fər-
; forborne fȯr-ˈbȯrn How to pronounce forbear (audio)
fər-
; forbearing

transitive verb

1
: to hold oneself back from especially with an effort
forbore mentioning the incident
tried to forbear making rash judgments
2
obsolete : to do without
3
obsolete : to leave alone : shun
forbear his presenceWilliam Shakespeare

intransitive verb

1
: hold back, abstain
have forborne from taking part in any controversyAbraham Lincoln
2
: to control oneself when provoked : be patient
forbore with his friend's failings
forbearer noun

forbear

2 of 2

noun

for·​bear

less common spelling of forebear

: ancestor, forefather
also : precursor
usually used in plural
His forebears fought in the American Civil War.

Example Sentences

Verb He carefully forbore any mention of her name for fear of upsetting them. We decided to forbear provoking him any further. We decided to forbear from provoking him any further. He forebore to mention her name.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
So, if a person is enacting their right to resistance, then bystanders have an obligation to forbear and not to interfere. TheWeek, 12 Apr. 2020 But crucially, the FCC did not forbear from a few parts of Title II that protect consumers in other ways. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 12 July 2017

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English forberen, from Old English forberan to endure, do without, from for- + beran to bear

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of forbear was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near forbear

Cite this Entry

“Forbear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forbear. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

forbear

1 of 2 verb
for·​bear fȯr-ˈba(ə)r How to pronounce forbear (audio)
fər-,
-ˈbe(ə)r
forbore -ˈbō(ə)r How to pronounce forbear (audio)
-ˈbȯ(ə)r
; forborne -ˈbō(ə)rn How to pronounce forbear (audio)
-ˈbȯ(ə)rn
; forbearing
1
: to hold back or keep from : abstain
2
: to be patient when annoyed
forbearer noun

forbear

2 of 2

variant of forebear

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