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 The policy also forbids outdoor restaurants from having a dance floor, arcade games, dart boards, or any other outdoor game and from hosting live music. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "'Help us' Kevin Bacon: Washington DC bans dancing at outdoor bars because of coronavirus," 28 May 2020 For example, the Constitution also forbids, in certain circumstances, discrimination against disfavored speech and undue interference with the national economy. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Trump admin threatens to sue states that don’t lift pandemic orders," 28 Apr. 2020 Bars are not allowed to reopen; live music performances are also forbidden. Jack Healy, New York Times, "U.S. Governors Move Ahead With Reopening, Despite Health Worries," 28 Apr. 2020 That federal financial stimulus bill, partly designed to avoid mass unemployment in the aviation industry, also forbids airlines receiving funds to administer involuntary layoffs or furloughs for six months. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "Coronavirus in New York: Airlines Are Slashing Flights to NYC as Outbreak Peak Looms," 6 Apr. 2020 Stricter rules say anything made with soy, corn or corn syrup is also forbidden. N'dea Yancey-bragg And Lauren Markoe, USA TODAY, "Seder on Zoom? Passover traditions change as the coronavirus spreads," 2 Apr. 2020 Jim Crow laws also forbade black people from living next to white people. 1843, "Confederacy in the ’hood," 2 Apr. 2020 The order also forbids public and private gatherings of more than 50 people. Joshua Fechter,, "San Antonio City Council to vote on extending emergency coronavirus order," 19 Mar. 2020 The legislation also forbids active panhandling at all times of day, rather than just before sunrise and after sunset. Indystar, Indianapolis Star, "Here's the fate of key bills introduced at the Indiana General Assembly," 15 Mar. 2020

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 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Forbid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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