verb (used with object), for·bore, for·borne, for·bear·ing.

to refrain or abstain from; desist from.
to keep back; withhold.
Obsolete. to endure.

verb (used without object), for·bore, for·borne, for·bear·ing.

to refrain; hold back.
to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.

Origin of forbear

before 900; Middle English forberen, Old English forberan. See for-, bear1
Related formsfor·bear·er, nounfor·bear·ing·ly, adverbnon·for·bear·ing, adjectivenon·for·bear·ing·ly, adverbun·for·bear·ing, adjective

Synonyms for forbear Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for forborn

Historical Examples of forborn

  • Enfering any conversation with the Steersner and Pilotes is desired to be forborn.

  • In anxious expectation of this news I had forborn to retire to rest.

    Four Years in France

    Henry Digby Beste

  • The English naturalists would have nothing to do with theology, "these two subjects, God and the Soul, being only forborn."

British Dictionary definitions for forborn



verb -bears, -bearing, -bore or -borne

(when intr, often foll by from or an infinitive) to cease or refrain (from doing something)
archaic to tolerate or endure (misbehaviour, mistakes, etc)
Derived Formsforbearer, nounforbearingly, adverb

Word Origin for forbear

Old English forberan; related to Gothic frabairan to endure




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

Word Origin and History for forborn



"to abstain," Old English forberan "bear up against, control one's feelings, endure," from for- + beran "to bear" (see bear (v.)). Related: Forbearer; forbearing; forbore.



"ancestor," late 15c., from fore "before" + be-er "one who exists;" agent noun from be.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper