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

The deputy, Art Blakey, forgave Givens after the young man found God in prison and earned a college degree while there. Dan Simmons,, "2 years after Philando Castile's death, programs aim to transform relations between police, residents," 8 July 2018 Photo via The Modern House With its twisting curves and unfurling exterior, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this home for a piece of abstract art. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Sculptural steel home built into a 19th-century railway bridge wants $1.4M," 9 July 2018 The open rehearsals were part of the agreement with the city per forgiving the debt. Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, "Money woes might mean no season finale for Elgin Symphony Orchestra," 28 Mar. 2018 Facing a November race against J.B. Pritzker, Rauner feels compelled to try to galvanize the Trump base in the Republican Party—many of whom still haven't forgiven the governor for signing HB 40, the reproductive rights bill. Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, "News / Politics / Race Phony feud: Don’t be fooled by the Twitter barbs between Rahm and Rauner over Dan Ryan protest," 9 July 2018 Sorry to have tweeted incorrect info about you!I Please forgive me! Chris Cillizza, CNN, "The big thing everyone is missing in the Roseanne garbage fire. (HINT: It's Donald Trump Jr.)," 30 May 2018 Sorry to have tweeted incorrect info about you!I Please forgive me! Jane Coaston, Vox, "Roseanne goes full conspiracy theorist on Chelsea Clinton," 29 May 2018 Sorry to have tweeted incorrect info about you!I Please forgive me! Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "ABC Cancels Roseanne After Racist Tweet About Valerie Jarrett (Updated)," 29 May 2018 But if Tigermania grips Augusta on Sunday, please forgive me. David Whitley,, "Tiger Woods 2.0 deserves respect, not adoration," 3 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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Phrases Related to forgive

can be forgiven

forgive me

Statistics for forgive

Last Updated

12 Oct 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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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