verb for·give \ fər-ˈgiv , fȯr- \
|Updated on: 17 Aug 2018

Definition of forgive

forgave play \fər-ˈgāv, fȯr-\; forgiven play \fər-ˈgi-vən, fȯr-\; forgiving
1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon
  • forgive one's enemies
2 a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see requital 1) for
  • forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of
  • forgive a debt
: to grant forgiveness
  • had to learn to forgive and forget


play \fər-ˈgi-və-bəl, fȯr-\ adjective


play \fər-ˈgi-və-blē, fȯr-\ adverb



Examples of forgive in a Sentence

  1. Can you ever forgive me for being so selfish?

  2. I've never forgiven myself for the way I treated her.

  3. We must ask God to forgive us for our sins.

  4. When he feels he's been insulted, he finds it hard to forgive and forget.

  5. He finds it hard to forgive an insult.

  6. We must ask God to forgive our sins.

  7. The government has agreed to forgive some of the debt.

Recent Examples of forgive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of forgive

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

FORGIVE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of forgive for English Language Learners

  • : 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)

FORGIVE Defined for Kids


verb for·give \ fər-ˈgiv \

Definition of forgive for Students

forgave \-ˈgāv\; forgiven \-ˈgi-vən\; forgiving
: to stop feeling angry at or hurt by
  • Please forgive me—I didn't mean it.

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