Middle English from ca. 1300, from Old French forfait "crime", originally the past participle of forfaire "transgress", ad Middle Latin foris factum. During the 15th century, the sense shifted from the crime to the penalty for the crime.
forfeit (plural forfeits)
- a penalty for or consequence of a misdemeanor
- That he our deadly forfeit should release (John Milton, On the Morning of Christ's Nativity, 1629)
- To suffer the loss of something by wrongdoing or non-compliance
- He forfeited his last chance of an early release from jail by repeatedly attacking another inmate.
- To lose a contest, game, match, or other form of competition by voluntary withdrawal, by failing to attend or participate, or by violation of the rules
- Because only nine players were present, the football team was forced to forfeit the game.
- Forfeit was the past and past participle before the 19th century.