• synonyms


[fer-bid, fawr-]
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verb (used with object), for·bade or for·bad or for·bid, for·bid·den or for·bid, for·bid·ding.
  1. to command (a person) not to do something, have something, etc., or not to enter some place: to forbid him entry to the house.
  2. to prohibit (something); make a rule or law against: to forbid the use of lipstick; to forbid smoking.
  3. to hinder or prevent; make impossible.
  4. to exclude; bar: Burlesque is forbidden in many cities.
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Origin of forbid

before 1000; Middle English forbeden, Old English forbēodan. See for-, bid1
Related formsfor·bid·der, noun
Can be confusedforbade forbid forbidden forebode (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for forbid

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1, 2. interdict. Forbid, inhibit, prohibit, taboo indicate a command to refrain from some action. Forbid, a common and familiar word, usually denotes a direct or personal command of this sort: I forbid you to go. It was useless to forbid children to play in the park. Inhibit implies a checking or hindering of impulses by the mind, sometimes involuntarily: to inhibit one's desires; His responsiveness was inhibited by extreme shyness. Prohibit, a formal or legal word, means usually to forbid by official edict, enactment, or the like: to prohibit the sale of liquor. Taboo, primarily associated with primitive superstition, means to prohibit by common disapproval and by social custom: to taboo a subject in polite conversation. 3. preclude, stop, obviate, deter.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for forbid

prevent, censor, freeze, deprive, enjoin, cancel, exclude, restrain, hinder, halt, proscribe, stop, inhibit, disallow, impede, restrict, deny, preclude, oppose, ban

Examples from the Web for forbid

Contemporary Examples of forbid

Historical Examples of forbid

  • How often, Clary, must I forbid your unsisterly reflections?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I suppose you will write to the oddities, since you are forbid to see them.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Will he deny me the visits of my dearest friend, and forbid me to correspond with her?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • For they were in hopes of prevailing upon my father to forbid his visits.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • I forbid you, on pain of death, to make any more attempts to get the Golden Fleece.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

British Dictionary definitions for forbid


verb -bids, -bidding, -bade, -bad, -bidden or -bid (tr)
  1. to prohibit (a person) in a forceful or authoritative manner (from doing something or having something)
  2. to make impossible; hinder
  3. to shut out or exclude
  4. God forbid! may it not happen
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Derived Formsforbiddance, nounforbidder, noun

Word Origin for forbid

Old English forbēodan; related to Old High German farbiotan, Gothic faurbiudan; see for-, bid
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

Word Origin and History for forbid


Old English forbeodan "forbid, prohibit," from for- "against" + beodan "to command" (see bid). Common Germanic compound (cf. Dutch verbieden, Old High German farbiotan, German verbieten, Old Norse fyrirbjoða, Gothic faurbiudan "to forbid"). Related: Forbade; forbidden.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with forbid


see god forbid.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.