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[fawr-bair] /fɔrˈbɛər/
verb (used with object), forbore, forborne, forbearing.
to refrain or abstain from; desist from.
to keep back; withhold.
Obsolete. to endure.
verb (used without object), forbore, forborne, forbearing.
to refrain; hold back.
to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.
Origin of forbear1
before 900; Middle English forberen, Old English forberan. See for-, bear1
Related forms
forbearer, noun
forbearingly, adverb
nonforbearing, adjective
nonforbearingly, adverb
unforbearing, adjective
1. forgo, sacrifice, renounce. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for forbearing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Is she not for ever obliged (as she was pleased to hint to me) to be of the forbearing side?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • We are grateful to you, Ted and I, for having been so forbearing in the past.

  • He was forgiving and forbearing and kinder than I had any right to expect.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Could we not pay our friend the compliment of truth, of silence, of forbearing?

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • There are insults which even my forbearing spirit will not meekly endure.

  • The painters were calm and forbearing, and scrupulously courteous to each other.

    Art in England

    Dutton Cook
  • In the mean time, the Romans, he added, had been moderate and forbearing.

    Hannibal Jacob Abbott
  • The father was prudent, cautious, wise, and often generous and forbearing.

    Darius the Great Jacob Abbott
  • Only let me say one thing, Theodora—be forbearing, or you will be fostering the enemy.'

    Heartsease Charlotte M. Yonge
British Dictionary definitions for forbearing


verb -bears, -bearing, -bore, -borne
when intr, often foll by from or an infinitive. to cease or refrain (from doing something)
(archaic) to tolerate or endure (misbehaviour, mistakes, etc)
Derived Forms
forbearer, noun
forbearingly, adverb
Word Origin
Old English forberan; related to Gothic frabairan to endure


a variant spelling of forebear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for forbearing



"to abstain," Old English forberan "bear up against, control one's feelings, endure," from for- + beran "to bear" (see bear (v.)). Related: Forbearer; forbearing; forbore.



"ancestor," late 15c., from fore "before" + be-er "one who exists;" agent noun from be.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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