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

ban, bar, enjoin, interdict, outlaw, prohibit, proscribe

Antonyms: Verb

allow, let, permit, suffer

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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


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

According to one of the indictments, the women were required to wear baggy clothing when not around Mr. Kelly and were ordered to keep their heads down, forbidden from looking at other men. Robert Chiarito, New York Times, "R. Kelly Is Accused of Using Hush Money to Silence Family of Girl in Sex Tape," 12 July 2019 Punishments can include denial of visas and import/export certificates, denying these foreign entities the use of American dollars or even cutting them out of the U.S.’s financial system and forbidding any U.S. party from doing business with them. Nabih Bulos,, "Europe wants to establish a trade conduit with Iran. Here’s what that means," 12 July 2019 Only one other mission—China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft—has soft-landed in this rugged, forbidding region. Shekhar Chandra, Scientific American, "What to Expect from India’s Second Moon Mission," 12 July 2019 Until Nansen, most explorers had tried to cross from west to east, from the inhabited side of the island to its forbidding Atlantic coast. Colin Dickey, The New Republic, "The Secrets in Greenland’s Ice," 11 July 2019 This is already the case in Europe where the European Union forbids gender price discrimination, even though women are statistically better drivers and live longer. Allison Schrager, Quartz, "In a world awash with information, power comes from knowing what data not to use," 10 July 2019 The law will also forbid employers from asking prospective employees about their salary history, a statement on the governor's website explains. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "New York Governor Cuomo signs equal pay bill into law at USWNT World Cup victory parade," 10 July 2019 Making the schools subject to the Open Meetings Act would, in effect, allow the Legislature to rule the universities, something the Constitution forbids. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Wayne State: We don't have to meet in public, so suit against us should be tossed," 9 July 2019 Nothing happened, even though guidelines that govern behavior on the platform explicitly forbid mocking someone’s physical appearance. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Inside Instagram's War on Bullying," 8 July 2019

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

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Statistics for forbid

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forbid

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on forbid

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with forbid

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forbid

Spanish Central: Translation of forbid

Nglish: Translation of forbid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forbid for Arabic Speakers

Comments on forbid

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