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[fawr-bair] /fɔrˈbɛər/
verb (used with object), forbore, forborne, forbearing.
to refrain or abstain from; desist from.
to keep back; withhold.
Obsolete. to endure.
verb (used without object), forbore, forborne, forbearing.
to refrain; hold back.
to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.
Origin of forbear1
before 900; Middle English forberen, Old English forberan. See for-, bear1
Related forms
forbearer, noun
forbearingly, adverb
nonforbearing, adjective
nonforbearingly, adverb
unforbearing, adjective
1. forgo, sacrifice, renounce. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for forbearing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

  • In the mean time, the Romans, he added, had been moderate and forbearing.

    Hannibal Jacob Abbott
  • Benevolent and forbearing readers, this unassuming tale is near its finis.

    A Bayard From Bengal Hurry Bungsho Jabberjee
  • The father was prudent, cautious, wise, and often generous and forbearing.

    Darius the Great Jacob Abbott
  • A wise and forbearing creditor prevents the loss of some debts by encouraging his debtor and giving him time.

  • I wasn't half so patient 'n' forbearing as I ought to have been.

  • Such, at least, is the shrewd conjecture of Arbaces, who seems to have been most kind and forbearing in his testimony.'

    The Last Days of Pompeii Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
  • Is she not for ever obliged (as she was pleased to hint to me) to be of the forbearing side?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • I was unjust enough to load him with the guilt of this plot against me, and imagined there was duty in forbearing to detect it.

    Jane Talbot Charles Brockden Brown
British Dictionary definitions for forbearing


verb -bears, -bearing, -bore, -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 Forms
forbearer, noun
forbearingly, adverb
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for forbearing



"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
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