verb (used with object)

to subject to seizure as a forfeit.
to lose or become liable to lose, as in consequence of crime, fault, or breach of engagement.


lost or subject to loss by forfeiture.

Origin of forfeit

1250–1300; Middle English forfet < Old French (past participle of forfaire to commit crime, to lose possession or right through a criminal act) < Medieval Latin forīs factum penalty, past participle of forīs facere to transgress, equivalent to Latin forīs outside, wrongly + facere to make, do
Related formsfor·feit·a·ble, adjectivefor·feit·er, nounnon·for·feit·a·ble, adjectivenon·for·feit·ing, adjectivere·for·feit, verb (used with object)un·for·feit·a·ble, adjectiveun·for·feit·ed, adjectiveun·for·feit·ing, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for forfeited

Contemporary Examples of forfeited

Historical Examples of forfeited

  • If you have forfeited man's respect and esteem, there is a God with whom there is mercy and forgiveness.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • The Barony of Holderness was forfeited, but Drogo was never captured.

  • They said their lives would be forfeited if we gave them up, and they entreated us to let them go.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • When our engagement was forfeited, that right was forfeited with it.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • I hope it cannot be shown that he has forfeited all claim to my protection.

British Dictionary definitions for forfeited



something lost or given up as a penalty for a fault, mistake, etc
the act of losing or surrendering something in this manner
law something confiscated as a penalty for an offence, breach of contract, etc
(sometimes plural)
  1. a game in which a player has to give up an object, perform a specified action, etc, if he commits a fault
  2. an object so given up


(tr) to lose or be liable to lose in consequence of a mistake, fault, etc
(tr) law
  1. to confiscate as punishment
  2. to surrender (something exacted as a penalty)


surrendered or liable to be surrendered as a penalty
Derived Formsforfeitable, adjectiveforfeiter, noun

Word Origin for forfeit

C13: from Old French forfet offence, from forfaire to commit a crime, from Medieval Latin foris facere to act outside (what is lawful), from Latin foris outside + facere to do
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 forfeited



c.1300, "misdeed," from Old French forfait "crime, punishable offense" (12c.), originally past participle of forfaire "transgress," from for- "outside, beyond" (from Latin foris; see foreign) + faire "to do" (from Latin facere; see factitious). Translating Medieval Latin foris factum. Sense shifted mid-15c. from the crime to the penalty: "something to which the right is lost through a misdeed." As an adjective from late 14c., from Old French forfait.



c.1300, "to lose by misconduct;" see forfeit (n.). Related: Forfeited; forfeiting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper