Definition of forbid in English:



[with object]
  • 1Refuse to allow (something)

    ‘I can see why phones were forbidden’
    • ‘Church leaders could face prosecution if they refuse to ordain practising homosexuals under new laws forbidding discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.’
    • ‘When used as a sheep-dip it is forbidden to allow sheep producing milk for human consumption to go near Seraphos.’
    • ‘Until the reign of the iconoclastic Kamehameha II, Hawaiian culture was dominated by a rigid set of kapu, or taboos, sacred laws forbidding things like men and women eating together.’
    • ‘Bent on establishing a biracial society, Southern whites passed strict laws forbidding interracial marriage, naming the issue of such unions illegitimate.’
    • ‘The regional governors there are not allowing mayors to draw loans for infrastructure projects because the law forbids the extension of loans up to six months prior to elections.’
    • ‘They also argued that the FBI violated Russian law, which strictly forbids un-authorized trespass on hard drives.’
    • ‘Young arguably could have been charged with violating a Tennessee law that forbids bribes to ‘public servants,’ a crime that carries a penalty of three to six years in prison.’
    • ‘Although the majority Grand National Party is trying to prolong the period of the parliamentary probe into the state affairs, this won't be realized because the National Assembly Law forbids any extension.’
    • ‘I'd rather see a law forbidding the practice than trying to sort out ways to allow data sharing without my knowledge.’
    • ‘It is forbidden to refuse anyone, even a stranger, shelter and food.’
    • ‘Sexual harassment law forbids speech that creates a hostile or offensive working environment.’
    • ‘Clearly, the state's role in promoting, allowing, or forbidding social change is crucial.’
    • ‘Jewish law forbids the use of the name of the holy rabbi for profit.’
    • ‘She explained that Nunavut's new election law forbids the posting of voters' lists containing the names and addresses of voters, for reasons of confidentiality and security.’
    • ‘Smoking indoors had already become a taboo long before government created laws forbidding it.’
    • ‘Four rangers from the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Authority enforce laws forbidding damage to the reefs.’
    • ‘The policy, designed to leave families homeless, impoverished and traumatized, is illegal because international law forbids the demolition of houses by an occupying power.’
    • ‘It also says the 2001 donation agreement allows the company to forbid use of the interchange for loads that do not originate or end on the Britton Line.’
    • ‘And some rabbis say that Jewish law forbids making money off his name.’
    • ‘No state or federal laws forbid such electioneering activities, no matter how criminal the corporation.’
    prohibit, ban, outlaw, make illegal, veto, proscribe, disallow, preclude, exclude, rule out, bar, debar, block, stop, put a stop to, put an end to, declare taboo
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Order (someone) not to do something.
      ‘I was forbidden from seeing him again’
      with object and infinitive ‘my doctor has forbidden me to eat sugar’
      • ‘I picked mine up and listened - a private first class like me was strictly forbidden from speaking on it unless spoken to.’
      • ‘The order forbids him from harassing, abusing or threatening people, being in the company with certain people in a public area or inciting others to carry out actions on his behalf.’
      • ‘He was also forbidden from contacting her or going within a quarter of a mile of her house.’
      • ‘The order forbids him from entering any church in Fylde Borough.’
      • ‘I was born in the 1950's, and my mother's doctor forbade her to drink alcohol or smoke during her pregnancy.’
      • ‘I started learning to dance at the age of six, but at the age of nine I had heart problems and the doctor forbade me categorically from dancing.’
      • ‘I'm a little unclear over whether I'm actually forbidden from using it.’
      • ‘He was also forbidden from associating with certain named individuals.’
      • ‘We are still forbidden from coming anywhere near the house after 6.’
      • ‘He is forbidden from participating in future role plays and he was disciplined for being ‘inappropriate’.’
      • ‘The interim order also forbids him from lighting fires on any land except for land that he legally owns by way of a title deed.’
      • ‘The order also forbids him from spitting, throwing, harassing, distressing, alarming, assaulting, intimidating, threatening or abusing anything or anyone, or provoking others to do so.’
      • ‘But that doesn't mean I'm forbidden from ever telling any more stories with any of those characters in ever again, or I hope it doesn't.’
      • ‘I was being watched by the whole office yet I was forbidden from saying anything to anybody.’
      • ‘The Central Propaganda Department and the Provincial Party Propaganda Department have issued orders to forbid you from reporting this.’
      • ‘Firstly, I have no power to review - in fact, I am expressly forbidden from doing so - a decision on a case by the Legal Services Agency.’
      • ‘If you're ever out with Pants, it would be wise to forbid him to order the Chili Fries.’
      • ‘She invents a charge of child abuse and gets a restraining order forbidding him from seeing the child.’
      • ‘We were literally forbidden from contact with the outside world.’
      • ‘I mean, okay, he forbids me to eat anything pickled and/or mayonnaise based.’
      prohibit, ban, outlaw, make illegal, veto, proscribe, disallow, preclude, exclude, rule out, bar, debar, block, stop, put a stop to, put an end to, declare taboo
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Refuse entry to a place or area.
      ‘all vehicles are forbidden’
    3. 1.3 (of a circumstance or quality) make (something) impossible; prevent.
      ‘the cliffs forbid any easy turning movement’
      • ‘Burckhardt, writing in the nineteenth century in his Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy, simply said that ‘the character of the tales forbids lengthy description’, and moved hastily on.’
      • ‘Genetic principles forbade such easy transformation of the genetic nature of species and the creation of a new one.’
      • ‘Thus it is that the growth of technical means tending to absolutism forbids the appearance of values and condemns to sterility our search for the ethical and the spiritual.’
      • ‘Desire, for example, can come to understand that reason forbids its satisfaction in certain circumstances, and so can come to adjust, not putting up a fight.’
      • ‘Its cliffs forbid coastal access, leaving the interior - a tussock-covered plateau - as the only feasible route.’
      • ‘Similarly, if someone develops a mental illness that forbids them from owning guns, the courts can find out if the individual owns weapons.’
      • ‘And, most of all… I hated the circumstances for forbidding it.’
      • ‘Many of the foreigners were utterly destitute; and their increasing numbers at length forbade a recourse to the usual modes of relief.’


  • God (or Heaven) forbid

    • Used to express a fervent wish that something does not happen.

      ‘if, God forbid, a close family member of yours were killed’
      • ‘After all, Heaven forbid if anyone knew your true intentions.’
      • ‘If, God forbid, this situation continues, it is not difficult to imagine what will be the fate of Muslims and democracy.’
      • ‘Because when, Heaven forbid, the country is menaced by security, military, and political dangers or economic collapse, then those people who have capital, bankrolls, companies, children, luxury homes, and houses abroad, flee.’
      • ‘If, God forbid, a major incident of some kind did occur in Swindon, how would our shiny new hospital cope with a rapid, major influx of critically ill patients?’
      • ‘If there's a terror attack, God forbid, does it help or hurt any candidate?’
      • ‘That, I guess, leaves the Family Court to concentrate their energies on, God forbid, the Australian family law.’
      • ‘And if, God forbid, you should find that all your best efforts are a failure, you don't want to admit it.’
      • ‘If you are not playing as well as you know you can, it could be that a minor (or Heaven forbid, major) fault or two may have crept into your game.’
      • ‘Oh, it's fine for her to waste food on a level I can only describe as sinful but God forbid we should be wasting light bulbs or toilet paper.’
      • ‘The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than - Heaven forbid - German, which was the other possibility.’


Old English forbēodan (see for-, bid).