Synonym Chooser

How does the verb forgive differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of forgive are condone, excuse, and pardon. While all these words mean "to exact neither punishment nor redress," forgive implies that one gives up all claim to requital and to resentment or vengeful feelings.

could not forgive their rudeness

When is condone a more appropriate choice than forgive?

The words condone and forgive can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When might excuse be a better fit than forgive?

In some situations, the words excuse and forgive are roughly equivalent. However, excuse may refer to specific acts especially in social or conventional situations or the person responsible for these. Often the term implies extenuating circumstances.

excuse an interruption
excused them for interrupting
injustice excuses strong responses

When could pardon be used to replace forgive?

While the synonyms pardon and forgive are close in meaning, pardon implies that one remits a penalty due for an admitted or established offense.

pardon a criminal

Thesaurus Entries Near forgive

Cite this Entry

“Forgive.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on forgive

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