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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. 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/
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  • 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.
    Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
  2. (intransitive) To accord forgiveness.
    Only the brave know how to forgive...A coward never forgave; it is not in his nature. - Laurence Sterne

Derived termsEdit