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[fer-giv] /fərˈgɪv/
verb (used with object), forgave, forgiven, forgiving.
to grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve.
to give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.).
to grant pardon to (a person).
to cease to feel resentment against:
to forgive one's enemies.
to cancel an indebtedness or liability of:
to forgive the interest owed on a loan.
verb (used without object), forgave, forgiven, forgiving.
to pardon an offense or an offender.
Origin of forgive
before 900; for- + give; replacing Middle English foryiven, Old English forgiefan
Related forms
forgivable, adjective
forgiver, noun
half-forgiven, adjective
preforgive, verb (used with object), preforgave, preforgiven, preforgiving.
unforgivable, adjective
unforgivableness, noun
unforgivably, adverb
unforgiven, adjective
Can be confused
commute, forgive, pardon (see synonym study at pardon)
1. See excuse. 3. absolve, acquit. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for forgive
  • In order to forgive others, victims must put aside revenge.
  • Well, forgive me for not jumping up and down with joy.
  • He had to leave ignominiously from a side door-an end to his fourth government that he will not lightly forgive or forget.
  • But if you ski in bounds and suffer from cold hands, you'll happily pay-and forgive the weight.
  • forgive me for seeming naive, but it still amazes me that nobody ever questions the concept of government debt.
  • forgive us for sometimes wondering if the airline industry is simply throwing green ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks.
  • Oh, they do not forgive the killers and their accomplices, nor should they.
  • But please forgive us if we're bugging you too much.
  • The party will decide whether to forgive any sins that have been committed, or hand over the accused to the police.
  • Still, the music is so outstandingly alive that it's an easy lapse to forgive.
British Dictionary definitions for forgive


verb -gives, -giving, -gave, -given
to cease to blame or hold resentment against (someone or something)
to grant pardon for (a mistake, wrongdoing, etc)
(transitive) to free or pardon (someone) from penalty
(transitive) to free from the obligation of (a debt, payment, etc)
Derived Forms
forgivable, adjective
forgivably, adverb
forgiver, noun
Word Origin
Old English forgiefan; see for-, give
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 forgive

Old English forgiefan "give, grant, allow; forgive," also "to give up" and "to give in marriage;" from for- "completely" + giefan "give" (see give).

The modern sense of "to give up desire or power to punish" is from use of the compound as a Germanic loan-translation of Latin perdonare (cf. Old Saxon fargeban, Dutch vergeven, German vergeben, Gothic fragiban; see pardon). Related: Forgave; forgiven; forgiving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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