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[fer-bid-n, fawr-] /fərˈbɪd n, fɔr-/
a past participle of forbid.
not allowed; prohibited:
a forbidden food in his religion.
Physics. involving a change in quantum numbers that is not permitted by the selection rules:
forbidden transition.
Related forms
forbiddenly, adverb
forbiddenness, noun
preforbidden, adjective
self-forbidden, adjective
unforbidden, adjective
Can be confused
forbade, forbid, forbidden, forebode (see synonym study at forbid)


[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 forbidden
  • If you can't answer that riddle, you could conduct an entire research project and be forbidden to publish the results.
  • The government's treatment of police officers, who are forbidden to strike and therefore easy to bully, is unfair.
  • To succeed, you must override both a normal impulse to attend to new information and curiosity about something forbidden.
  • People can be made to see reddish green and yellowish blue-colors forbidden by theories of color perception.
  • The rank odor of sulfurous vapors hints at something primal and forbidden.
  • There is a universal, undeniably seductive effect of something declared to be forbidden or secret.
  • In this new climate, museums are examining subjects formerly forbidden.
  • By eight months, infants are capable of concealing forbidden activities and distracting parental attention.
  • Telemarketers would be forbidden to call people who sign on to the list.
  • Minds will be opened, and many will find themselves liberated to express views previously forbidden.
British Dictionary definitions for forbidden


not permitted by order or law
(physics) involving a change in quantum numbers that is not permitted by certain rules derived from quantum mechanics, esp rules for changes in the electrical dipole moment of the system
Usage note
It was formerly considered incorrect to talk of forbidding someone from doing something, but in modern usage either from or to can be used: he was forbidden from entering/to enter the building


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 forbidden



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 forbidden


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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