[ fawr-bair ]
See synonyms for: forbearforbearingforboreforbearingly on

verb (used with object),for·bore [fawr-bawr], /fɔrˈbɔr/, for·borne [fawr-bawrn], /fɔrˈbɔrn/, for·bear·ing.
  1. to refrain or abstain from; desist from.

  2. to keep back; withhold.

  1. Obsolete. to endure.

verb (used without object),for·bore [fawr-bawr], /fɔrˈbɔr/, for·borne [fawr-bawrn], /fɔrˈbɔrn/, for·bear·ing.
  1. to refrain; hold back.

  2. to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.

Origin of forbear

First recorded before 900; Middle English forberen, Old English forberan “to refrain from, abstain; spare, excuse”; see origin at for-, bear1

Other words for forbear

Other words from forbear

  • for·bear·er, noun
  • for·bear·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·for·bear·ing, adjective
  • non·for·bear·ing·ly, adverb
  • un·for·bear·ing, adjective

Words Nearby forbear Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use forbear in a sentence

  • But—and I forbear to lead up to it artistically—I dissever myself from your chariot wheels.

    Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
  • And thou shalt speak my words to them, if perhaps they will hear, and forbear: for they provoke me to anger.

  • Georgie could not forbear a smile, while Lucy burst into inextinguishable peals of silvery laughter.

  • Can they stand still when everything is in motion, when everything is stirring, and forbear running whither every one runs?

  • Nor can any right-minded man forbear his tribute to the good which Socialistic agitation has done.

    The Inhumanity of Socialism | Edward F. Adams

British Dictionary definitions for forbear (1 of 2)


/ (fɔːˈbɛə) /

verb-bears, -bearing, -bore or -borne
  1. (when intr, often foll by from or an infinitive) to cease or refrain (from doing something)

  2. archaic to tolerate or endure (misbehaviour, mistakes, etc)

Origin of forbear

Old English forberan; related to Gothic frabairan to endure

Derived forms of forbear

  • forbearer, noun
  • forbearingly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for forbear (2 of 2)


/ (ˈfɔːˌbɛə) /

  1. 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