forgive

verb
for·​give | \ fər-ˈgiv How to pronounce forgive (audio) , fȯr-\
forgave\ fər-​ˈgāv How to pronounce forgave (audio) , fȯr-​ \; forgiven\ fər-​ˈgi-​vən How to pronounce forgiven (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from forgive

forgivable \ fər-​ˈgi-​və-​bəl How to pronounce forgivable (audio) , fȯr-​ \ adjective
forgivably \ fər-​ˈgi-​və-​blē How to pronounce forgivably (audio) , fȯr-​ \ adverb
forgiver noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for forgive

Synonyms

pardon

Antonyms

resent

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions. BostonGlobe.com, "Actress Felicity Huffman issued this statement after she received a 14-day sentence:," 14 Sep. 2019 My hope now is that my family, my friends and my community will forgive me for my actions. Los Angeles Times, "Felicity Huffman after prison sentencing: ‘I have learned a lot ... about my flaws’," 13 Sep. 2019 A century earlier, Britain’s royal family never forgave American divorcee Wallis Simpson for marrying King Edward VIII, obliging him to abdicate. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Does Succession Get Tom and Shiv's Relationship Right? A Vanderbilt Says Yes.," 11 Aug. 2019 One could be forgiven for seeing a bad influence there. Noam Cohen, WIRED, "Shoot-'Em-Up Videogames Don't Warp Minds—Big Tech Does," 8 Aug. 2019 This could begin with the companies that build social media platforms, but users could be forgiven for not trusting tech giants to have our best interests in mind. Jamil Zaki, Scientific American, "The Technology of Kindness," 6 Aug. 2019 Even in bankruptcy, student loans are the only debts that are not forgiven automatically. Dan Rosensweig, Fortune, "There Are Concrete Ways Businesses Can Help Lower Student Debt," 17 Sep. 2019 The Japanese manufacturer still isn’t willing to forgive and forget the way McLaren severed its ties a few years ago in Formula One. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Sources: McLaren pursuing Colton Herta, full-season partnership with IndyCar team for 2020," 29 July 2019 If Ansari can’t be forgiven for his misgivings, what does that mean for all others who have abided by the same cultural norms? NBC News, "Stephanie Ruhle: A Gen Xer and a millennial discuss Aziz Ansari's #MeToo comeback," 7 July 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about forgive

Statistics for forgive

Last Updated

12 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forgive

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for forgive

forgive

verb

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)

forgive

verb
for·​give | \ fər-ˈgiv How to pronounce forgive (audio) \
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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