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[fer-giv] /fərˈgɪv/
verb (used with object), forgave, forgiven, forgiving.
to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
to grant pardon to (a person).
to cease to feel resentment against:
to forgive one's enemies.
to cancel an indebtedness or liability of:
to forgive the interest owed on a loan.
verb (used without object), forgave, forgiven, forgiving.
to pardon an offense or an offender.
Origin of forgive
before 900; for- + give; replacing Middle English foryiven, Old English forgiefan
Related forms
forgivable, adjective
forgiver, noun
half-forgiven, adjective
preforgive, verb (used with object), preforgave, preforgiven, preforgiving.
unforgivable, adjective
unforgivableness, noun
unforgivably, adverb
unforgiven, adjective
Can be confused
commute, forgive, pardon (see synonym study at pardon)
1. See excuse. 3. absolve, acquit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unforgiven
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She had looked at him, dumbly, and he had rushed away, leaving her unforgiven.

    Glory of Youth Temple Bailey
  • And if unforgiven, could the cry of a rabble at such a scene bind a nation?

    Lord George Bentinck Benjamin Disraeli
  • The unforgiven child is still a child, but will be chastened.

    God's Plan with Men

    T. T. (Thomas Theodore) Martin
  • Love to God can never be the growth of unrenewed and unforgiven hearts.

    Sermons Clement Bailhache
  • I cannot go bloodstained and unforgiven into the presence of the Eternal.

  • And Father will be getting on with the unforgiven, and come home any minute.

    A Singular Life Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  • The State of the unforgiven will be a little—clammy, dont you think?

    A Singular Life Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  • After all, Amy had to go up to her room only half believed and unforgiven.

    Sowing and Sewing

    Charlotte Mary Yonge
  • I cannot go bloodstained and 364 unforgiven into the presence of the Eternal!

    Gold Stewart White
British Dictionary definitions for unforgiven


verb -gives, -giving, -gave, -given
to cease to blame or hold resentment against (someone or something)
to grant pardon for (a mistake, wrongdoing, etc)
(transitive) to free or pardon (someone) from penalty
(transitive) to free from the obligation of (a debt, payment, etc)
Derived Forms
forgivable, adjective
forgivably, adverb
forgiver, noun
Word Origin
Old English forgiefan; see for-, give
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 unforgiven

early 15c., from un- (1) "not" + past participle of forgive.



Old English forgiefan "give, grant, allow; forgive," also "to give up" and "to give in marriage;" from for- "completely" + giefan "give" (see give).

The modern sense of "to give up desire or power to punish" is from use of the compound as a Germanic loan-translation of Latin perdonare (cf. Old Saxon fargeban, Dutch vergeven, German vergeben, Gothic fragiban; see pardon). Related: Forgave; forgiven; forgiving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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