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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As musicals continue their resurgence, a decision has been made to forbid the submission of more than three songs from the same film for consideration in the best original song category. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 May 2022 Once a snob who tried to forbid Julia from participating in public television, Paul has since gone through a transformative arc, learning how to support his wife while still being his own person. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 5 May 2022 Then, the school updated its rules to forbid that, too, and tighten down on demonstrations. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Apr. 2022 On March 21, the Ukrainian Embassy in New Delhi issued a diplomatic request urging Nepal to forbid Russian climbers from entering the country. Ben Ayers, Outside Online, 22 Apr. 2022 Alito may have misapprehended Gorsuch’s use of history, as his colleague himself suggested: Gorsuch wrote in a footnote that the Sixth Amendment would still forbid non-unanimous jury verdicts in any event. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 27 Apr. 2022 Nearly a dozen POWs have appeared in news conferences -- public appearances that may be questionable under the Geneva Conventions, which forbid countries from unnecessarily humiliating POWs. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 17 Mar. 2022 So if, heaven forbid, your car rolls over or a truck carrying a load of axes has its cargo suddenly break free in front of you, a convertible top is not going to give you much protection. Ray Magliozzi, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Feb. 2022 But that was a nonstarter because Congress has used its power over the federal budget since 2015 to forbid the FDA from reviewing applications to start human trials for mitochondrial replacement. Walter G. Johnson And Diana M. Bowman, STAT, 24 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Forbid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for forbid


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!

More from Merriam-Webster on forbid

Nglish: Translation of forbid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forbid for Arabic Speakers


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