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

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 Rollin’s depiction of the area is stark and forbidding, though his depiction of the lovers is natural and charming. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Film / Foreign / Paranormal Discover the erotic, macabre world of French director Jean Rollin," 1 Mar. 2018 All of these stately and forbidding pictures are intensified by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch’s groaning, grinding score, a nod to the pulsating, synth-heavy Vangelis original with the volume turned way up. Richard Lawson,, "Blade Runner 2049 Review: Jaw-Dropping Style but Too Little Substance," 3 Oct. 2017

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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Statistics for forbidding

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forbidding

The first known use of forbidding was in 1599

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More Definitions for forbidding



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).


a bell tower

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