for·​give | \ fər-ˈgiv How to pronounce forgive (audio) , fȯr- \
forgave\ fər-​ˈgāv How to pronounce forgave (audio) , fȯr-​ \; forgiven\ fər-​ˈgi-​vən How to pronounce forgiven (audio) , fȯr-​ \; forgiving

Definition of forgive

transitive verb

1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon forgive one's enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see requital sense 1) for forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of forgive a debt

intransitive verb

: to grant forgiveness had to learn to forgive and forget

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Other Words from forgive

forgivable \ fər-​ˈgi-​və-​bəl How to pronounce forgivable (audio) , fȯr-​ \ adjective
forgivably \ fər-​ˈgi-​və-​blē How to pronounce forgivably (audio) , fȯr-​ \ adverb
forgiver noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for forgive



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excuse, condone, pardon, forgive mean to exact neither punishment nor redress. excuse may refer to specific acts especially in social or conventional situations or the person responsible for these. excuse an interruption excused them for interrupting Often the term implies extenuating circumstances. injustice excuses strong responses condone implies that one overlooks without censure behavior (such as dishonesty or violence) that involves a serious breach of a moral, ethical, or legal code, and the term may refer to the behavior or to the agent responsible for it. a society that condones alcohol but not narcotics pardon implies that one remits a penalty due for an admitted or established offense. pardon a criminal forgive implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings. could not forgive their rudeness

Examples of forgive in a Sentence

Can you ever forgive me for being so selfish? I've never forgiven myself for the way I treated her. We must ask God to forgive us for our sins. When he feels he's been insulted, he finds it hard to forgive and forget. He finds it hard to forgive an insult. We must ask God to forgive our sins. The government has agreed to forgive some of the debt.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department on Friday released a new application and step-by-step instructions for how to calculate the portion of Paycheck Protection Program loans that can be forgiven. Mark Niquette,, "Trump Administration Keeps Payroll Requirement for PPP Loans," 19 May 2020 The money also must be spent over eight weeks for the loan to be forgiven. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "Some really small companies got large Paycheck Protection loans," 19 May 2020 Under the original terms, 75% of the funds were required to be spent on employee salaries for the loans to be forgiven. ... Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, "U.S. Expected to Revise Small Business Aid Program," 17 May 2020 At issue is a key rule that says in order for a PPP loan to be forgiven, a small business owner must spend at least 75% of it on payroll expenses in the first eight weeks of the loan. Jeanne Sahadi And Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, "These small business owners got PPP loans, but they're afraid to use the money," 13 May 2020 The program, run through the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers loans to businesses that can be forgiven if 75 percent of the amount is spent on payroll over an eight-week period. Amelia Pak-harvey, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana businesses receive another $2 billion in payroll protection loans," 6 May 2020 For the loans to be forgiven, 75 percent of the money must be used to pay employees. Jonathan O’connell,, "AutoNation, an auto retailer worth billions, received nearly $95 million in SBA funds," 24 Apr. 2020 The bill provides $320 billion to revive the program, which offers loans to small businesses that can be forgiven by the government if at least 75% of the money goes to keeping employees on the payroll, basically amounting to grants for businesses. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "House set to approve funds to replenish small business program, bolster funds for hospitals," 24 Apr. 2020 Unlike funds from private lenders, Harris County is offering no-interest loans that can be forgiven after five years. Zach Despart, Houston Chronicle, "Harris County offered $10M in loans to small businesses hurt by pandemic. Requests topped $152M.," 14 Apr. 2020

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2a

History and Etymology for forgive

Middle English, from Old English forgifan, from for- + gifan to give

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Time Traveler for forgive

Time Traveler

The first known use of forgive was before the 12th century

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Statistics for forgive

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Forgive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for forgive


How to pronounce forgive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of forgive

: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone)
: to stop feeling anger about (something) : to forgive someone for (something wrong)
: to stop requiring payment of (money that is owed)


for·​give | \ fər-ˈgiv How to pronounce forgive (audio) \
forgave\ -​ˈgāv \; forgiven\ -​ˈgi-​vən \; forgiving

Kids Definition of forgive

: to stop feeling angry at or hurt by Please forgive me—I didn't mean it.

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More from Merriam-Webster on forgive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for forgive

Spanish Central: Translation of forgive

Nglish: Translation of forgive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forgive for Arabic Speakers

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