for·​bid | \fər-ˈbid, fȯr-\
forbade\fər-​ˈbad, -​ˈbād, fȯr-​ \ also forbad\fər-​ˈbad, fȯr-​ \; forbidden\fər-​ˈbi-​dᵊn, 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

But an American Arab is welcome to list his home a few hundred meters away, even though the Palestinian law forbidding real-estate deals with Jews carries a maximum penalty of death. Eugene Kontorovich, WSJ, "Airbnb’s Anti-Israel Hypocrisy," 25 Nov. 2018 Earlier this summer, the mayor approved a law forbidding any new takeout spots from opening in the city in the next three years, in an effort to try and limit the amount of eating on the streets. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Venice May Ban Sitting in Public Spaces," 21 Sep. 2018 This new study suggests that widespread hospital policy forbidding visible tattoos and piercings among providers is not founded in evidence. Mary Bernard,, "Will that tattoo hurt you professionally? Not if you're a doctor, study finds," 9 July 2018 The deal forbids fixed-wing aircraft with the exception of rescue missions and natural disaster response. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Doesn’t Want a No-Fly Zone Over the Korean DMZ. Here’s Why.," 18 Oct. 2018 The geography across its border varies from the forbidding canyons of Big Bend to the flat floodplains and thorn scrub of the Rio Grande Valley. Bob Ortega, CNN, "Border Patrol failed to count hundreds of migrant deaths on US soil," 14 May 2018 Facebook's rules forbid users from falsely representing themselves as someone else. The Washington Post,, "Facebook's crackdown on fake accounts isn't working for everyone," 5 May 2018 Batty Langley's Hotel In a forbidding 18th-century brick building near Spitalfields market in the East End, with a discreet sign over the door, Batty Langley’s looks like a part-warehouse, part-hipster office building. Laura Goulden, Condé Nast Traveler, "34 Best Hotels in London," 26 Feb. 2018 An Uber spokesperson pointed me to the company’s developer terms of service, which forbid using APIs for price comparison. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "Uber and Lyft's Never-Ending Quest to Crush Price Comparison Apps," 11 July 2018

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


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


see forbid entry 1

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Statistics for forbid

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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

: to say that (something) is not allowed


for·​bid | \fər-ˈbid \
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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a nest or breeding place

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