for·​bid·​ding | \ fər-ˈbi-diŋ How to pronounce forbidding (audio) , fȯr- \

Definition of forbidding

1 : such as to make approach or passage difficult or impossible forbidding walls
2 : disagreeable, repellent a forbidding task
3 : grim, menacing a dark forbidding sky

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Other Words from forbidding

forbiddingly \ fər-​ˈbi-​diŋ-​lē How to pronounce forbiddingly (audio) , fȯr-​ \ adverb

Examples of forbidding in a Sentence

a harsh and forbidding landscape a dark, forbidding house, that is reputed to be haunted
Recent Examples on the Web The hadal zone is the earth’s most forbidding frontier. Susan Casey, Outside Online, "One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean," 22 Oct. 2019 In view of its basic importance, time translation symmetry deserves to have a less forbidding name, with fewer than seven syllables. Frank Wilczek, Scientific American, "The Exquisite Precision of Time Crystals," 16 Oct. 2019 But for all the ways that the Netflix era has expanded opportunities for certain auteurs, the entertainment industry is still a forbidding place for many women show creators. Noam Scheiber, New York Times, "Is Peak TV Really a Bonanza for Female Comics? That’s a Laugh," 25 July 2019 In February 2016, the Nets hired Marks, an assistant GM in San Antonio, to oversee one of the NBA’s most forbidding rebuilding tasks. Chris Mannix,, "Behind the Scenes of the Nets’ Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving Heist," 9 July 2019 Despite such forbidding conditions, a few brave souls, aided by a handful of secret agents dispatched from London, helped kick-start the French Resistance. Sonia Purnell, Twin Cities, "Sonia Purnell: What D-Day teaches us about the difficulty – and importance – of resistance," 6 June 2019 Nearly all wild horses live in the Great Basin of Nevada and surrounding states, in some of the most forbidding land in America. New York Times, "Let Mountain Lions Eat Horses," 12 May 2018 But Democratic candidates in special elections for vacant House seats in more forbidding territory — including Arizona, southwestern Pennsylvania and South Carolina — have performed strongly since President Trump’s inauguration. New York Times, "An Ohio Special Election Shapes Up as a Big Test of the ‘Blue Wave’," 9 May 2018 Toughest to realize is Lear himself, who, along with Hamlet, remains one of Shakespeare’s most forbidding creations. David Yezzi, WSJ, "‘Lear: The Great Image of Authority’ Review: A Master Class in Tragedy," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'forbidding.' 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 forbidding

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for forbidding

Time Traveler

The first known use of forbidding was in 1599

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Statistics for forbidding

Last Updated

23 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Forbidding.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for forbidding


How to pronounce forbidding (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forbidding

: not friendly or appealing : having a frightening or threatening appearance


for·​bid·​ding | \ fər-ˈbi-diŋ \

Kids Definition of forbidding

: tending to frighten or discourage a forbidding old house

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Comments on forbidding

What made you want to look up forbidding? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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