[ 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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use forbear in a sentence

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

    Art in England | Dutton Cook

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