for·​bear·​ance | \ fȯr-ˈber-ən(t)s How to pronounce forbearance (audio) , fər-\

Definition of forbearance

1 : a refraining from the enforcement of something (such as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due The policy provides a means of forbearance for borrowers meeting certain criteria.
2 : the act of forbearing : patience He appreciated his wife's forbearances.
3 : the quality of being forbearing : leniency known … for her forbearance with her incorrigible husband— Willa Cather

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Synonyms & Antonyms for forbearance


long-suffering, patience, sufferance, tolerance



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Examples of forbearance in a Sentence

He showed great forbearance in his dealings with them. we thank you for your forbearance while we attend to the technical difficulties interrupting the TV program

Recent Examples on the Web

In their book How Democracies Die, Harvard political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky identify two core norms that keep democratic systems alive: Mutual toleration and forbearance. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "New Jersey Democrats have a new gerrymandering plan. It is indefensible — and national Democrats need to stop it.," 14 Dec. 2018 Based on the number of students turning to forbearance, auditors suggested that number is sure to rise. New York Times, "Colleges Hire Consultants to Help Manipulate Student Loan Default Rates," 11 May 2018 One firm even offered borrowers $25 gift cards to put their loans in forbearance. New York Times, "Colleges Hire Consultants to Help Manipulate Student Loan Default Rates," 11 May 2018 Payments made during a grace period, in deferment or forbearance generally don’t count toward your total. Washington Post, "How to navigate confusing gov’t loan forgiveness program," 20 June 2018 When student borrowers run into difficulties making payments, they can be offered forbearance, which allows them to delay payments for a set period of time. Ken Sweet, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Gov’t questions unfair student loan practices," 21 Nov. 2018 But many of them default later on, after the forbearance period ends, the GAO says. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Some Colleges Try to Burnish Student-Loan Default Rates," 26 Apr. 2018 Evergrande’s fortunes now hinge on Beijing’s forbearance. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Evergrande’s Ever-Deeper Peril," 4 July 2018 When had congressional Republicans ever given Obama cause for believing that forbearance and compromise would be rewarded? Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "In Hindsight, Democrats Really Mishandled That Merrick Garland Thing," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'forbearance.' 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 forbearance

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for forbearance

see forbear entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near forbearance

for aye







Statistics for forbearance

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for forbearance

The first known use of forbearance was in 1576

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More Definitions for forbearance



English Language Learners Definition of forbearance

formal : the quality of someone who is patient and able to deal with a difficult person or situation without becoming angry


variants: also forebearance \ fȯr-​ˈbar-​əns \

Legal Definition of forbearance

: a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due

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More from Merriam-Webster on forbearance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forbearance

Spanish Central: Translation of forbearance

Nglish: Translation of forbearance for Spanish Speakers

Comments on forbearance

What made you want to look up forbearance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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