• synonyms


[fawr-bawrn, -bohrn]
  1. past participle of forbear1.
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verb (used with object), for·bore, for·borne, for·bear·ing.
  1. to refrain or abstain from; desist from.
  2. to keep back; withhold.
  3. Obsolete. to endure.
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verb (used without object), for·bore, for·borne, for·bear·ing.
  1. to refrain; hold back.
  2. to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.
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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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for forborne

decline, inhibit, abstain, stop, avoid, omit, escape, forgo, refrain, withhold, desist, pause, cease, evade, eschew, shun, restrain, curb, keep, bridle

Examples from the Web for forborne

Historical Examples of forborne

  • He had forborne, as we have seen, to tell Julia his former tidings.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly

    Charles James Lever

  • At the time he was ashamed to seem too eager and had forborne to question further.

    "Unto Caesar"

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy

  • She had been there once already, but seeing him asleep, she had forborne to wake him.

  • Yes, yes, it was for her sake that he had forborne to speak.

  • The labours of the husbandman and the artificer she has forborne.

British Dictionary definitions for forborne


  1. the past participle of forbear 1
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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)
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Derived Formsforbearer, nounforbearingly, adverb

Word Origin for forbear

Old English forberan; related to Gothic frabairan to endure


  1. a variant spelling of forebear
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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 forborne



"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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper