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

Other Words from forgive

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for forgive



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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 Hagelgans notes that companies should already be communicating with staff even before the decision arrives, and adds that since the ruling was leaked in May, employees are unlikely to forgive an employer without a robust plan of action in place. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 22 June 2022 The issue of whether to forgive some federal student-loan debt has been particularly fraught. Andrew Restuccia, WSJ, 18 June 2022 Shakier’s younger sister, now 16 said her kind-hearted older brother would probably forgive Beckwith if the two could meet again. oregonlive, 17 June 2022 For more on Mary Bailey's journey to forgive her mother, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands now. Elaine Aradillas,, 13 June 2022 The Lord Protector released Kat and Parry after receiving a humble plea from Elizabeth, but Thomas remained a prisoner, too dangerous for his brother to forgive. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 June 2022 Dozens of these students organized a debt strike in 2015 to pressure the federal government to forgive their student debts, and their efforts eventually led to the establishment of a formal Borrower Defense application procedure. Adam S. Minsky, Forbes, 8 June 2022 After months of delays, President Biden is expected to announce in the coming weeks that the government will forgive at least $10,000 in debt for people making less than $125,000, according to news reports. Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2022 One of the basics of faith is God’s ability to forgive and restore. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 11 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for forgive

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near forgive

forging roll


forgive me

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Last Updated

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Forgive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for forgive


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on forgive

Nglish: Translation of forgive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of forgive for Arabic Speakers


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