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

Definition of forgiveness

: the act of forgiving I ask for your forgiveness.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for forgiveness


absolution, amnesty, pardon, remission, remittal


penalty, punishment, retribution

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

As such, forgiveness and redemption are major themes in the movie, co-written by Alex Cramer, Jon Erwin (Woodlawn), and Brent McCorkle (Unconditional). …but some details are different. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "10 Things to Know About 'I Can Only Imagine,' the MercyMe Song Made Into a Movie," 22 Mar. 2018 But after much public outcry and a direct order from the Chinese government, Dolce & Gabbana pulled the plug on the show and publicly asked for forgiveness. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "Melania Trump Wore Dolce & Gabbana After Their 'Racist' Chinese Ad Controversy," 27 Nov. 2018 To cope, Jal relies on the Christian concept of forgiveness. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Christian ex-child soldier, now hip-hop artist, calls for forgiveness," 21 Sep. 2018 With that in mind, a second quote posted by Khloé suddenly takes a hard-hitting turn regarding forgiveness. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Khloe Kardashian Shared Dramatic Quotes About "Making Decisions" Amid New Tristan Thompson Rumors," 2 Oct. 2018 Many fans felt the video came off like Lee wasn't truly sorry and instead was using it to seek sympathy and forgiveness. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Laura Lee Is Attempting to Apologize Again for Her Controversial Tweets," 27 Sep. 2018 For a company once famous for barging into markets and asking for forgiveness rather than permission, this suggests a continued pivot towards more collaboration with cities. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Uber makes $10M bet on bikes and transit," 26 Sep. 2018 And also, the forgiveness zone, and who gets forgiven and who doesn’t. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Wearables pioneer Jawbone is back with a new mission: Warning you about health problems you didn’t know you had," 26 Sep. 2018 This weaponized forgiveness also fuels women’s participation in our own oppression. Megan Feldman Bettencourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Forgiveness Has Been Weaponized Against Women," 25 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of forgiveness

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about forgiveness

Share forgiveness

Statistics for forgiveness

Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forgiveness

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!