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

And Daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor. Christina Schoellkopf,, "Hashtag Highlights: Outcries for separated families, goodbyes to 'Game of Thrones'," 22 June 2018 SCOTT Toller’s relationship with young environmentalists leads him to an agonizing question: Can God forgive us? New York Times, "‘First Reformed’ Asks, Can God Forgive Us? Its Director Has an Answer," 20 June 2018 Abusers cannot use the concept of grace to be forgiven and silence victims. Sarah Smith, star-telegram, "Southern Baptists' #MeToo moment: 'Jesus does not need you to rescue his reputation'," 12 June 2018 So forgive him if went a little nuts over his alma mater's 6-5 10-inning win over Cal State Fullerton to make it to Omaha on Sunday night. azcentral, "Watch: Diamondbacks' Jake Lamb goes nuts over Washington's College World Series bid," 11 June 2018 Burchill later added to the post that all is forgiven. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "Hotel guest left out enough pepperoni to fill a suitcase. Seagulls trashed his room. | Miami Herald," 2 Apr. 2018 And now, according to Diario Gol, Salah will reject Madrid as a result of Ramos' antics - not being able to forgive the man that crushed the 25-year-old's Champions League dream., "Report Claims Mohamed Salah Has 'Decided Against' Real Madrid Move for Ridiculous Reason," 12 June 2018 Ulysses Grant forgave all but the uppermost ranks of Confederate traitors. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Problem With Trump’s Pardons," 1 June 2018 The British establishment never forgave Wallis Simpson, who became the Duchess of Windsor, for luring the sovereign, Edward VIII, from his throne in 1936. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "An Unofficial History of Rich Women and Their Diets," 10 Apr. 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

9 Nov 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

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


noxious or harmful

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