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verb (used with object), for·sook, for·sak·en, for·sak·ing.
  1. to quit or leave entirely; abandon; desert: She has forsaken her country for an island in the South Pacific.
  2. to give up or renounce (a habit, way of life, etc.).
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Origin of forsake

before 900; Middle English forsaken to deny, reject, Old English forsacan, equivalent to for- for- + sacan to dispute
Related formsfor·sak·er, nounun·for·sak·ing, adjective


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Synonym study

1. See desert2.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

relinquish, quit, spurn, renounce, repudiate, forgo, forswear, disown, jettison, disclaim, abdicate, jilt, yield, leave, resign, surrender, desert

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British Dictionary definitions for forsake


verb -sakes, -saking, -sook (-ˈsʊk) or -saken (-ˈseɪkən) (tr)
  1. to abandon
  2. to give up (something valued or enjoyed)
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Derived Formsforsaker, noun

Word Origin

Old English forsacan
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 forsake


Old English forsacan "object to, decline, oppose, refuse, deny," from for- "completely" + sacan "to deny, refuse" (see sake). Related: Forsaking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper