for·​sake fər-ˈsāk How to pronounce forsake (audio)
forsook fər-ˈsu̇k How to pronounce forsake (audio)
; forsaken fər-ˈsā-kən How to pronounce forsake (audio)
; forsaking

transitive verb

: to renounce or turn away from entirely
friends have forsaken her
forsook the theater for politics
Choose the Right Synonym for forsake

abandon, desert, forsake mean to leave without intending to return.

abandon suggests that the thing or person left may be helpless without protection.

abandoned children

desert implies that the object left may be weakened but not destroyed by one's absence.

a deserted town

forsake suggests an action more likely to bring impoverishment or bereavement to that which is forsaken than its exposure to physical dangers.

a forsaken lover

Examples of forsake in a Sentence

forsaking most of our possessions, we evacuated just before the hurricane struck
Recent Examples on the Web The Osage tragedy was never forsaken by American media. Armond White, National Review, 20 Oct. 2023 For too long, universities have forsaken their core values to coddle a radical agenda. Marc Sarnoff, National Review, 23 Oct. 2023 America’s students were forsaken, with some unable to return to a normal classroom environment until this year. The Editors, National Review, 31 Aug. 2023 His pledging to forsake the lures of extraordinary wealth, sleeping on beanbags, and driving a Toyota Corolla belied a luxurious lifestyle. Roomy Khan, Forbes, 6 Feb. 2023 Already, in Russia’s war in Ukraine, both sides have been compelled to forsake airborne/air assault operations and deep insertions due to the density of air defenses and radar coverage. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 24 Aug. 2023 The group, Cult of the Dead Cow, has developed a coding framework that can be used by app developers who are willing to embrace strong encryption and forsake revenue from advertising that is targeted to individuals based on detailed profiles gleaned from the data most apps now routinely collect. Joseph Menn, Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2023 Some newspapers have forsaken coverage of local sports or business, the union said. Alexandra Olson, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 June 2023 And despite their burgeoning acclaim as Serious Filmmakers, the brothers have no intention of forsaking their digital renown. Vulture, 17 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'forsake.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English forsacan, from for- + sacan to dispute; akin to Old English sacu action at law — more at sake

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of forsake was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near forsake

Cite this Entry

“Forsake.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


for·​sake fər-ˈsāk How to pronounce forsake (audio)
forsook -ˈsu̇k How to pronounce forsake (audio) ; forsaken -ˈsā-kən How to pronounce forsake (audio) ; forsaking
: to give up or leave entirely
her friends have forsaken her

More from Merriam-Webster on forsake

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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