[fawr-bair, fohr-]
See more synonyms for forebear on
Also forbear.

Origin of forebear

1425–75; Middle English (Scots), equivalent to fore- fore- + -bear being, variant of beer; see be, -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for forebears

forefather, forerunner, progenitor

Examples from the Web for forebears

Contemporary Examples of forebears

Historical Examples of forebears

  • The zebra is striped 356rather than spotted because its forebears wore stripes.

    The Blue Wall

    Richard Washburn Child

  • You'll find it easy to trace the strong resemblance Frankie has to his forebears.

    Old Mr. Wiley

    Fanny Greye La Spina

  • Like his forebears and contemporaries, he looked upon man as the real being.

    The Blind Spot

    Austin Hall

  • The trumpet-call of her forebears was in those stirring lines.

    Heroines of Service

    Mary Rosetta Parkman

  • By the by, father, he says, that the grand old place once belonged to my forebears.

    The World Before Them

    Susanna Moodie

British Dictionary definitions for forebears



  1. an ancestor; forefather
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 forebears


see forbear. Related: Forebearance; forebears.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper