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

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Other Words from forbid


forbidder noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for forbid

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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 Use-of-force investigations: Assembly Member Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, is backing AB594, which would forbid a police agency from taking the lead on investigating deadly use-of-force incidents involving its own officers. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, "California looking at more police reforms after Derek Chauvin verdict," 20 Apr. 2021 Selling fake vaccination cards could break federal laws that forbid copying the C.D.C. logo, legal experts said. New York Times, "Online Scammers Have a New Offer for You: Vaccine Cards," 8 Apr. 2021 Women were ordered to leave the streets, as local police moved in to enforce Britain’s coronavirus restrictions, which forbid public gatherings. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "It’s Time to Lift the Female Lockdown," 18 Mar. 2021 Boston Dynamics condemned this use on Twitter and pointed out that all buyers of Spot must abide by the company’s terms and conditions, which forbid any use that intimidates or harms humans or animals. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The NYPD’s New Robot Dog Can’t Hurt Us. Yet.," 23 Feb. 2021 Trump’s policy that forbid refugees and residents from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. Amanda Hernández, USA TODAY, "Undoing Trump's policies and other things Biden did his first week as president," 28 Jan. 2021 Every hospital and county that received the vaccine was required to go along with state eligibility rules that forbid the transfer of medicine without approval. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "New York Looks to Move Past Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout’s Troubled First Weeks," 16 Jan. 2021 Consumer advocates point to the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and antitrust laws, which forbid companies from making warranties conditional on using specific parts or repair services. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "How manufacturers make it impossible to repair your electronics," 15 Jan. 2021 The team is barred from Sharks’ Ice and SAP Center due to Santa Clara County restrictions that forbid contact sports through at least Jan. 8. Ross Mckeon,, "Sharks set to open camp in Arizona looking to rebound from last season’s failures," 30 Dec. 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

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Forbid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on forbid

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