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[fer-bid, fawr-] /fərˈbɪd, fɔr-/
verb (used with object), forbade or forbad or forbid, forbidden or forbid, forbidding.
to command (a person) not to do something, have something, etc., or not to enter some place:
to forbid him entry to the house.
to prohibit (something); make a rule or law against:
to forbid the use of lipstick; to forbid smoking.
to hinder or prevent; make impossible.
to exclude; bar:
Burlesque is forbidden in many cities.
Origin of forbid
before 1000; Middle English forbeden, Old English forbēodan. See for-, bid1
Related forms
forbidder, noun
Can be confused
forbade, forbid, forbidden, forebode (see synonym study at the current entry)
1, 2. interdict. Forbid, inhibit, prohibit, taboo indicate a command to refrain from some action. Forbid, a common and familiar word, usually denotes a direct or personal command of this sort: I forbid you to go. It was useless to forbid children to play in the park. Inhibit implies a checking or hindering of impulses by the mind, sometimes involuntarily: to inhibit one's desires; His responsiveness was inhibited by extreme shyness. Prohibit, a formal or legal word, means usually to forbid by official edict, enactment, or the like: to prohibit the sale of liquor. Taboo, primarily associated with primitive superstition, means to prohibit by common disapproval and by social custom: to taboo a subject in polite conversation. 3. preclude, stop, obviate, deter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for forbid
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Marriages like that are the very deuce, and the law should forbid them.

    Leonore Stubbs L. B. Walford
  • How often, Clary, must I forbid your unsisterly reflections?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • They called upon the government to forbid the sending of the Liberator and similar "incendiary publications" through the mails.

  • Will he deny me the visits of my dearest friend, and forbid me to correspond with her?

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The miser says,—You forbid me to love money, to seek after the means of acquiring it: alas!

    The System of Nature, Volume 1 Paul Henri Thiery (Baron D'Holbach)
British Dictionary definitions for forbid


verb (transitive) -bids, -bidding, -bade, -bad, -bidden, -bid
to prohibit (a person) in a forceful or authoritative manner (from doing something or having something)
to make impossible; hinder
to shut out or exclude
God forbid!, may it not happen
Derived Forms
forbiddance, noun
forbidder, noun
Word Origin
Old English forbēodan; related to Old High German farbiotan, Gothic faurbiudan; see for-, bid
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 forbid

Old English forbeodan "forbid, prohibit," from for- "against" + beodan "to command" (see bid). Common Germanic compound (cf. Dutch verbieden, Old High German farbiotan, German verbieten, Old Norse fyrirbjoða, Gothic faurbiudan "to forbid"). Related: Forbade; forbidden.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with forbid


see: god forbid
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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