verb for·bid \ fər-ˈbid , fȯr- \
|Updated on: 13 Aug 2018

Definition of forbid

forbade play \fər-ˈbad, -ˈbād, fȯr-\ also forbad play \fər-ˈbad, fȯr-\; forbidden play \fər-ˈbi-dᵊn, fȯr-\; forbidding
1 : to proscribe (see proscribe 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.



Examples of forbid in a Sentence

  1. I forbid you to go!

  2. She was forbidden by her parents to marry him.

  3. She was forbidden from marrying him.

  4. The museum forbids flash photography.

  5. The company's rules forbid dating among employees.

Recent Examples of forbid from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of forbid

Middle English forbidden, from Old English forbēodan, from for- + bēodan to bid — more at bid

Synonym Discussion of 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




Definition of forbid

: accursed
  • he shall live a man forbid
  • —William Shakespeare

Origin and Etymology of forbid

FORBID Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of forbid for English Language Learners

  • : to order (someone) not to do something

  • : to say that (something) is not allowed

FORBID Defined for Kids


verb for·bid \ fər-ˈbid \

Definition of forbid for Students

forbade \-ˈbad\; forbidden \-ˈbi-dᵊn\; forbidding
: to order not to do something
  • I forbid you to go!

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