1 a archaic : forbid
b : to ward off : prevent
Did You Know?
When forfend was first used in the 14th century, it meant "to forbid." The term is still used with this meaning in phrases like "heaven forfend" or "God forfend," but it bears an antiquated patina communicated in our dictionary with an "archaic" label. Other uses of the word are current, though somewhat uncommon. Forfend comes from Middle English forfenden, from for- (meaning "so as to involve prohibition, exclusion, omission, failure, neglect, or refusal") and fenden, a variant of defenden, meaning "to defend."
"All too often, the selfie is looked down upon with condescension, viewed as the narcissist's calling card, treated with scorn and disdain. But why? Heaven forfend we show evidence of loving ourselves." — Rachel Thompson, Mashable, 24 Dec. 2020
"Juvenile birds left on a quest for their own feeding grounds, to avoid competition with parents and siblings. Going out on their own also forfends against inbreeding, which would have a deleterious effect on the gene pool of their species." — Gary Clark, The Houston Chronicle, 21 Sept. 2018
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