for·​give·​ness | \ fər-ˈgiv-nəs How to pronounce forgiveness (audio) , 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

Borrowers misled by a school are eligible for federal student-loan forgiveness. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Former Seattle student suing DeVos over student debt incurred at deceptive for-profit school," 28 Nov. 2018 Different characters are confronted with the question of forgiveness. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Anissa Gray's 'The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls' Is #ReadWithMC's March Pick," 25 Feb. 2019 They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Did Pope Francis really say there is no hell?," 30 Mar. 2018 Provide immediate forgiveness of outstanding debts to people who have been making a good faith effort to pay off their fines. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Legislature agrees to hike personal tax exemption, forgive costly driver fees," 14 Feb. 2018 Ernesta Miłkowska, now 27 years old, expressed frustration that the priest who abused her has found forgiveness in his parish. Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "‘We Gave Him a Chance’: Mercy for Abusive Priests Divides Church," 22 Feb. 2019 For many conservative Evangelicals, the focus is more upon the atoning blood of Christ and the price paid for the forgiveness of sins. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Plains, Ga., an evangelical politician like no other," 11 July 2018 And also the reconciliation at the end of the play, the forgiveness. James Hebert,, "Kate Burton is at the center of 'The Tempest' in Old Globe's Shakespeare Festival opener," 15 June 2018 Carolyn Kenyon and Judith Jones raised $12,500 and sent it to the debt-forgiveness charity R.I.P. Medical Debt, which then bought a portfolio of $1.5 million of medical debts for half a penny on the dollar on their behalf. Korin Miller, SELF, "How 2 Women Bought and Forgave More Than $1 Million in Strangers' Medical Debt," 7 Dec. 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

14 Apr 2019

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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 How to pronounce forgiveness (audio) \

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).


an enemy or opponent

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