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 forbidding (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 west coast of Ireland is home to miles of wild and forbidding landscape, and the warmest most hospitable people in the world. Usa Today Travel Team, USA TODAY, "Pandemic wanderlust: 100 places we're yearning to travel in 2021 and beyond," 31 Dec. 2020 Children and families came in through a forbidding brick entrance. James S. Russell, New York Times, "Harlem School of the Arts," 8 Nov. 2020 Russians are generally suspicious of doctors and state hospitals, polls show, partly a hangover from Soviet times when hospitals were free but forbidding places. Washington Post, "In Russia, sick people often treat themselves. That’s not helping in the coronavirus fight.," 23 Oct. 2020 These are totems to people who made art through forbidding years. Jenn Pelly, New York Times, "The Artist and Musician Conjuring a World of Queer Fantasy," 22 Oct. 2020 Even without her infamous riding crop, there remained something forbidding and dangerous about her. Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker, "How Saidiya Hartman Retells the History of Black Life," 19 Oct. 2020 Across the channel, the Sierra de la Giganta mountains of Baja California stood as forbidding silhouettes, seemingly fortified by turrets and towers of reds and greens. Washington Post, "On Mexico’s Sea of Cortez, a voyage of discovery," 17 July 2020 Johnson's deputies have watched the square since the national demonstrations started, forbidding protests without permits under a city law swiftly and emergency declarations by the mayor. Nicholas Riccardi, Star Tribune, "He set out to mobilize Latino voters. Then the virus hit.," 11 Aug. 2020 The elder Trump is cast as a cold and forbidding patriarch who wanted his son to follow in his footsteps – his eldest son. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "'Far beyond garden-variety narcissism.' Book by Trump's niece paints him habitual liar and inept," 8 July 2020

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

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Forbidding.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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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