for·​give·​ness | \fər-ˈgiv-nəs, fȯr-\

Definition of forgiveness 

: the act of forgiving I ask for your forgiveness.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for forgiveness


absolution, amnesty, pardon, remission, remittal


penalty, punishment, retribution

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Examples of forgiveness in a Sentence

She treats us with kindness and forgiveness. they asked her forgiveness for failing to invite her to the party

Recent Examples on the Web

People who work for the government, at qualifying nonprofits or in teaching, for example, may qualify for loan forgiveness. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "Should a Parent or Student Take Out the College Loan?," 8 July 2018 Abrams points for example to DeVos‘ 2019 fiscal year budget, which seeks to end public-service loan forgiveness. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "New TruTV Game Show Lets Student Borrowers Compete to Tame Their Debt," 5 July 2018 Now, borrowers can apply to have their ineligible payments counted toward loan forgiveness. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, Washington Post, "Democratic senators blast DeVos for mishandling a temporary expansion of loan forgiveness for public servants," 22 June 2018 The decision clarifies the scope of the judge’s ruling in May banning the Education Department from using earnings data to grant partial student loan forgiveness to Corinthian students and halting collection on their federal debts. Danielle Douglas-gabriel,, "Judge rejects DeVos interpretation of order to halt partial student debt relief plan," 20 June 2018 As a result, education officials in December established a new procedure that would vary the loan forgiveness percentage for former Corinthian students and similar borrowers. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, "Student loans: Former Corinthian Colleges students win a reprieve in fight with feds," 27 May 2018 Private student loans are not eligible for public loan forgiveness, nor can they be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan., "Debunking The 5 Biggest Student Loan Myths," 9 May 2018 On Sunday, an unconventional candidate prevailed in Mexico’s presidential election, preaching forgiveness, instead of punishment, for Mexico’s drug war criminals. Martha Pskowski, The New Republic, "The Radical Amnesty Plan of Mexico’s Next President," 2 July 2018 Millions of dollars in student loan forgiveness and refunds are in store for nearly 35,000 California students who borrowed private money to attend... Nanette Asimov,, "Student loan servicer cheats borrowers, California attorney general says," 28 June 2018

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for forgiveness

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for forgiveness

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

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More Definitions for forgiveness



English Language Learners Definition of forgiveness

: the act of forgiving someone or something

: the attitude of someone who is willing to forgive other people


for·​give·​ness | \fər-ˈgiv-nəs \

Kids Definition of forgiveness

: the act of ending anger at She asked for his forgiveness.

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Comments on forgiveness

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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