From Middle English forsaken (“to abandon, desert, repudiate, withdraw allegiance from; to deny, reject, shun; to betray; to divorce (a spouse); to disown; to be false to (one's nature, vows, etc.; to give up, renounce, surrender; to discard; to omit; to decline, refuse, reject; to avoid, escape; to cease, desist; to evade, neglect; to contradict, refute; to depart, leave; to become detached, separate”) [and other forms], from Old English forsacan (“to oppose; to give up, renounce; to decline, refuse”), from Proto-Germanic *frasakaną (“to forsake, renounce”), from *fra- (prefix meaning ‘away, off’) + *sakaną (“to charge; to dispute”) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *seh₂g- (“to seek out”)). The English word can be analysed as for- + sake, and is cognate with Danish forsage (“to give up”), Dutch verzaken (“to renounce, forsake”), Gothic 𐍃𐌰𐌺𐌰𐌽 (sakan, “to quarrel; to rebuke”), Middle High German versachen (“to deny”), Norwegian forsake (“to give up, renounce”), Swedish försaka (“to be without, give up”), West Frisian fersaakje.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /fɔːˈseɪk/, /fə-/
Audio (RP) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /fɔɹˈseɪk/
- Rhymes: -eɪk
- Hyphenation: for‧sake
- (transitive) To abandon, to give up, to leave (permanently), to renounce (someone or something).
- 1549 March 7, Thomas Cranmer [et al.], compilers, “Of the Administracion of Publyke Baptisme to be Used in the Churche”, in The Booke of the Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacramentes, […], London: […] Edowardi Whitchurche […], OCLC 56485293:
- Doeſt thou forſake the deuill and all his workes? / Aunſwere. I forſake them.
- 1617, John Moore, “Of the Miserable Life, and Wretched State of Man, by the Meanes of Sinne and Death”, in A Mappe of Mans Mortalitie. […], […] T[homas] S[nodham] for George Edvvards, […], OCLC 1136715554, 1st book (What Death is in It Selfe), page 44:
- He is forſaken of the world, his kinfolk, friends, and acquaintance; his owne members and ſenſes faile him; yea, hee forſaketh (as it were) himſelfe, in that the very vſe of reaſon forſaketh him.
- 1709, Matthew Prior, “Henry and Emma. […]”, in The Poetical Works of Matthew Prior […], volume I, London: […] W[illiam] Strahan, […], published 1779, OCLC 491256769, page 246:
- Let Prudence yet obſtruct thy venturous way; / And take good heed, what men will think and ſay: / That beauteous Emma vagrant courſes took; / Her father's houſe and civil life forſook; / That, full of youthful blood, and fond of man; / She to the wood-land with an exile ran.
- 1841 May 29, Richard Oastler, The Fleet Papers; Being Letters to Thomas Thornhill, Esq. […]; from Richard Oastler, […], volume I, number 22, London: W. J. Cleaver, […]; and John Pavey, […], OCLC 1206406608, page 172:
- After having opened the flood-gates to free trade, he [William Huskisson] discovered his error; but his nerve forsook him, and he could not close the gates.
- 1910 January 12, Ameen Rihani, The Book of Khalid, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published October 1911, OCLC 6412012, book the first (In the Exchange), page 36:
- There may be nothing noble in renouncing one's country, in abandoning one's home, in forsaking one's people; but is there not something remarkable in this great move one makes?
- 1961 November, H. G. Ellison; P. G. Barlow, “Journey through France: Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, London: Ian Allan Publishing, ISSN 0141-9935, OCLC 35845948, page 665:
- After the junction at Saincaize the line forsakes the Loire, which it has followed for many miles, for its great tributary the Allier, and runs through St. Germain-des-Fossés, the junction for St. Etienne, and Vichy to Clermont Ferrand.
- 1998 February 4, Trey Parker; Matt Stone; Dave Polsky, “Damien”, in South Park, season 1, episode 10:
- 2007, Alexander F[rank] Skutch, “Duty”, in Moral Foundations: An Introduction to Ethics, Mount Jackson, Va.: Axios Press, →ISBN, page 447:
- But whence comes this strange feeling of duty, which goads exceptional individuals to antagonize their neighbors, forsake peace of mind and bodily comfort, jeopardize their fortunes and their lives—to risk, in short, all those advantages which the careful observance of conventional duties would place more securely in their grasp, by strengthening their position in the social order?
- 2010 January 14, Helene Cooper, “Obama pledges aid to Haiti”, in The New York Times, New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, ISSN 0362-4331, OCLC 971436363, archived from the original on 16 December 2020:
- Saying he wanted to "speak directly to the people of Haiti," Mr. [Barack] Obama gave a brief address from the White House that was one of the sharpest displays of emotion of his presidency. "You will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten," he said, and stopped to compose himself. "In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you."
- (transitive, obsolete) To decline or refuse (something offered).
- 1697, “The Third Book of the Georgics”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 403869432, lines 329–330 and 333–336, page 106:
- The youthful Bull muſt wander in the Wood; / Behind the Mountain, or beyond the Flood: / [...] / With two fair Eyes his Miſtreſs burns his Breaſt; / He looks and languiſhes, and leaves his Reſt; / Forſakes his Food, and pining for the Laſs, / Is joyleſs of the Grove, and ſpurns the growing Graſs.
- (transitive, obsolete) To avoid or shun (someone or something).
- 1580, Thomas Tusser, “The Authors Beleefe”, in Fiue Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie: […], London: […] Henrie Denham [beeing the assigne of William Seres] […], OCLC 837741850; republished as W[illiam] Payne and Sidney J[ohn Hervon] Herrtage, editors, Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie. […], London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Trübner & Co., […], 1878, OCLC 7391867535, stanza 14, page 196:
- This was that Pascall lambe [i.e., Jesus] whose loue for vs so stood, / That on the mount of Caluerie, for vs did shed his blood: / Where hanging on the Crosse, no shame he did forsake, / Till death giuen him by pearcing speare, an ende of life did make.
- (transitive, obsolete) To cause disappointment to; to be insufficient for (someone or something).
- 1791, Oliver Goldsmith, “Of the Humming-bird, and Its Varieties”, in An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. […], volume V, new edition, London: […] F[rancis] Wingrave, successor to Mr. [John] Nourse, […], OCLC 877622212, part IV (Of Birds of the Sparrow Kind), page 320:
- Theſe birds, on the continent of America, continue to flutter the year round; as their food, which is the honey of flowers, never forſakes them in thoſe warm latitudes where they are found.
- Archaic second-person singular simple present form: forsakest
- Archaic third-person singular simple present indicative form: forsaketh
- forsake in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- forsake in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- “forsake” in The Bokmål Dictionary.