[fer-bid-ing, fawr-]
See more synonyms for forbidding on

Origin of forbidding

First recorded in 1710–15; forbid + -ing2
Related formsfor·bid·ding·ly, adverbfor·bid·ding·ness, nounun·for·bid·ding, adjective
Can be confusedforbidding foreboding


[fer-bid, fawr-]
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.

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

See more synonyms for on
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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for forbidding

Contemporary Examples of forbidding

Historical Examples of forbidding

  • He brought his huge fist down on the desk with violence, and his voice was forbidding.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • His martyrdom was continued by forbidding him all access to the healing waters.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Magua shook his head, forbidding the repetition of offers he so much despised.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • What I now wish to know is, what were your reasons for forbidding the payment of interest?


    Theodor Hertzka

  • The temperature was deadly cold; the dull houses were rime-covered and forbidding.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

British Dictionary definitions for forbidding


  1. hostile or unfriendly
  2. dangerous or ominous
Derived Formsforbiddingly, adverbforbiddingness, noun


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
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 forbidding

"uninviting," 1712, present participle adjective from forbid. Related: Forbiddingly; forbiddingness.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with forbidding


see god forbid.

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