for·​give | \fər-ˈgiv, fȯr-\
forgave\fər-​ˈgāv, fȯr-​ \; forgiven\fər-​ˈgi-​vən, 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, fȯr-​ \ adjective
forgivably \fər-​ˈgi-​və-​blē, fȯr-​ \ adverb
forgiver noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for forgive





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Choose the Right Synonym for forgive

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

Will her bosses forgive her for that disastrous Mexico excursion? Megan Stein, Country Living, "'NCIS: Los Angeles' Ignites Panic Over Hetty's Mysterious Disappearance," 28 Oct. 2018 Your complicity in anything that stems from this administration will not be forgiven in the future. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Stripping U.S. Citizens of Their Passports Is a Precursor to Genocide," 7 Sep. 2018 Many monumental video games have reached their 20th, 30th, and even 40th anniversaries at this point, and fans can be forgiven for missing a milestone or two. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "GoldenEye 007 gets quite the 21st-birthday present: An oral history," 23 Aug. 2018 Despite multiple allegations of Thompson’s infidelity while Kardashian was pregnant with his child, Kardashian is willing to forgive him, according to People. Erika Harwood, Vanities, "Khloé Kardashian Ends Her Dramatic Week by Forgiving Tristan Thompson and Moving on from “Stupid Groupies”," 13 Apr. 2018 In Sierra Burgess is a Loser, Jamey forgives Sierra for lying about her identity and pretending to be deaf. Elana Rubin, Teen Vogue, "You Is the Psychological Thriller Showing How Dangerous Rom-Com Tropes Can Be," 7 Nov. 2018 Though Michael brushed the matter off, Jennifer wasn’t so easily forgiving. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Miss Utah hopeful takes autistic high schooler to homecoming after classmates play cruel prank," 25 Sep. 2018 But even during our roughest travel experiences, the infrastructure was forgiving. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "How traveling abroad with kids showed me how to fix U.S. transit," 14 Sep. 2018 You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about it, however. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Graphene," 13 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for forgive

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forgive

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

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More Definitions for forgive



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 \
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

Comments on forgive

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a nest or breeding place

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