Alternation (due to give) of Middle English foryiven, forȝiven, from Old English forġiefan (to forgive, give up, provide), from Proto-Germanic *fragebaną (to give away; give up; release; forgive), equivalent to for- +‎ give (etymologically for- + yive). Cognate with Scots forgeve, forgif, forgie (to forgive), West Frisian ferjaan (to forgive), Dutch vergeven (to forgive), German vergeben (to forgive), Icelandic fyrirgefa (to forgive).


  • enPR: fər-gĭv', fôr-gĭv', IPA(key): /fə(ɹ)ˈɡɪv/, /fɔː(ɹ)ˈɡɪv/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /fɚˈɡɪv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪv


forgive (third-person singular simple present forgives, present participle forgiving, simple past forgave, past participle forgiven)

  1. (transitive) To pardon; to waive any negative feeling or desire for punishment, retribution, or compensation.
    Please forgive me if my phone goes off - I'm expecting an urgent call from my boss.
    Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
    Forgive a debt, that is, tell a debtor that s/he does not need to pay back a loan.
  2. (intransitive) To accord forgiveness.
    Only the brave know how to forgive...A coward never forgave; it is not in his nature. - (Can we date this quote by Laurence Sterne and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)

Derived termsEdit