Definition of forgive in English:

forgive

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake:

    ‘I'll never forgive David for the way he treated her’
    • ‘He asked Russians to forgive him for his mistakes and failing to realize their dreams after the fall of the Soviet Union.’
    • ‘Arlene always said I could forgive anyone for anything if they intrigued me enough.’
    • ‘George forgave me for my mistake at the time, so there was no ill will.’
    • ‘In any case, such is the pace and brilliance of the narrative that one feels that one can forgive the author almost anything.’
    • ‘But he had never truly been in love before, either, so we will forgive him his mistakes as well.’
    • ‘Readers will forgive you anything except your uncomplicated success.’
    • ‘Still, he's my only brother, and I tend to forgive him anything.’
    • ‘So yes, I will take you back, and I will forgive you for your mistake, and I have missed you so much.’
    • ‘He wanted a girlfriend who loved him so much that she would easily forgive him for anything.’
    • ‘I try to forgive myself first of all, and then I ask the other person with whom I'm angry to forgive me as well.’
    • ‘He will have to forgive you and stop being a parole officer, or you'll have to call it a day.’
    • ‘Then we will never beat a child, but forgive him for his mistakes.’
    • ‘You could forgive her for anything because of her passion for journalism.’
    • ‘She desperately wanted to forgive him and stop him from going, but her pride got in the way.’
    • ‘He wasn't sure if she'd forgive him for his angry words very quickly, but she'd get over it and this would help.’
    • ‘She had abandoned him, he thought, because she could not live in a world that would not forgive her for her mistakes.’
    • ‘The woman's nose finally stopped hurting when she truly forgave her father.’
    • ‘Love was not supposed to run this deep or feel this right, as though he could do anything and she would forgive him.’
    • ‘At first, Julie had turned her back on him, too angry to forgive him but slowly he had acquired her trust, her love.’
    • ‘Fans will forgive players anything as long as they wear their team's shirt with pride.’
    pardon, excuse, exonerate, absolve, acquit, let off, grant an amnesty to, amnesty
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 No longer feel angry about or wish to punish (an offence, flaw, or mistake):
      ‘I was willing to forgive all her faults for the sake of our friendship’
      [no object] ‘he had never found it easy to forgive and forget’
      • ‘The roots of the idea, however, lie not in forgiving the sin committed by human beings, but in protecting them from evil done to them.’
      • ‘He told people to be honest whatever the cost, promised them eternal life without sorrow or pain and said he could forgive sin.’
      • ‘Even if the mistakes are forgiven, can one forgive the repetition of the same mistakes over and over again?’
      • ‘According to the Talmud the ribbon stopped turning white in the year 30 A.D. So this showed God was no longer forgiving the sins of Israel by means of the scapegoat.’
      • ‘I've learned that God has been showing me to forgive myself, because it's in the Bible that God - in the Old Testament and in the New - that God forgives sins for those who come to him through faith in Christ.’
      • ‘Christ has brought believers from darkness into a kingdom of light and forgiven their sins absolutely and without question.’
      • ‘However, when you get rid of Christianity, you don't get rid of the conviction of sin and judgment, you merely get rid of any hope of forgiving the sin or tempering the judgment.’
      • ‘We are able to acknowledge horrendous scenarios, justify our errors, and forgive our mistakes by making a situation light-hearted.’
      • ‘At the end of the American Civil War, for example, President Lincoln forgave many crimes that might legitimately have been prosecuted.’
      • ‘The cross in Mark does not function as the means through which Jesus forgives sins.’
      • ‘At the same time, as we confess our sins, let us forgive the faults committed by others toward us.’
      • ‘Because he will forgive their iniquity and remember their sins no more.’
      • ‘The grace of God is not simply a holy hypodermic whereby my sins are forgiven.’
      • ‘His last wish was for you to know all is forgiven, come home.’
      • ‘The revelation of this book is from Allah, exalted in power, full of knowledge, who forgives sin, accepts repentance, is strict in punishment, and has a long reach in all things.’
      • ‘The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’’
      • ‘I think God will more readily forgive our sins against him, whom we cannot see, than against our fellow humans, whom we do see.’
      • ‘Just as he forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, so he continues his work of healing and salvation today through the sacrament.’
      • ‘He could not do it because no man rightly can forgive the sins he has committed against others.’
      • ‘Certainly the American electorate has forgiven the sins of those who tried to avoid the war.’
    2. 1.2 Cancel (a debt):
      ‘he proposed that their debts should be forgiven’
      • ‘Several major publishers donated books, and forgave debts or extended credit.’
      • ‘In a few cases, a substantial discount was given or debt was forgiven outright.’
      • ‘Unless some of this debt is forgiven, they will be paying in perpetuity.’
      • ‘If all we do is say, we will only loan you the money, then we can never argue to those countries that they've got to forgive those debts.’
      • ‘The president seems to think that this is an opportunity now to forgive that debt and to wipe it clean and move on.’
      • ‘We actually have to be giving aid, forgiving debt and rigorously addressing corruption, not just saying oh well you just get yourselves into order and we aren't morally obliged to help until you do.’
      • ‘Would it make a difference if our national debt were suddenly forgiven in full?’
      • ‘As a general rule, this money doesn't help the poor, and forgiving the debt is not a gesture of kindness to the neediest people in the world.’
      • ‘Such is the divine compassion: it heals and feeds, forgives huge debts, nurses hurt bodies back to health and welcomes home sinners, restoring them to a place of honor.’
      • ‘We can forgive the debts of Third World dictatorships, but these guys will run it up again and pocket the dough.’
      • ‘Even after we succeed in forgiving the debts of a country, they will get right back into debt if we don't change trading relationships.’
      • ‘A number of other countries have already forgiven their debts to you, be they government to government or otherwise.’
      • ‘Not answering your phone does not make creditors forgive the debt.’
      • ‘Less than two weeks ago, the G8 agreed to forgive the debts of 18 poor nations.’
      • ‘I can either shut you down or I can forgive some debts, and even give you some operating money.’
      • ‘They would rather inflame the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo than forgive African debt.’
      • ‘He also apparently owed his pusher quite a bit of money, so the prospect of living and the debt being forgiven in exchange for planting the device had been too much for him.’
      • ‘The Government is forgiving debt in one instance.’
      • ‘Besides having faulty laws and courts, governments block debt workouts by forgiving debts of companies deemed too big or prestigious to fail.’
      • ‘Whatever debt is forgiven will be reimbursed in some form so that the solvency of the institutions is not threatened.’
    3. 1.3 Used in polite expressions as a request to excuse one's foibles, ignorance, or impoliteness:
      ‘you will have to forgive my suspicious mind’
      • ‘This may be a stupid question, but please forgive my ignorance.’
      • ‘Lying about one's age is, forgive the expression, an age-old practice if one is a woman.’
      • ‘Now, most of my travel had been underground on the Tube so you will have to forgive my ignorance; I was yet to cross a bridge in London.’
      • ‘Now, forgive my ignorance, but just who is this director, Franco Zeffirelli?’
      • ‘Also, forgive my ignorance here, but has anyone taken prisoner and sent to Cuba been charged yet?’
      • ‘So far as legal aid is concerned, would your Lordship forgive my ignorance, I still have to ask for detail, an order for detailed assessment.’
      • ‘I haven't proof read it or anything, so forgive me if there are grammatical errors and stuff.’
      • ‘At 67 minutes, It may seem a little long, but there's such a surfeit of grooviness you can forgive the odd indulgence.’
      • ‘Please forgive my ignorance and realize that the events and happenings are totally fictional.’
      • ‘Now you better be as - forgive the expression - angels until the year closes out.’
      • ‘This is my first camera with a decent macro, so please forgive my temporary indulgence with this feature.’
      • ‘Sanctuary, forgive the expressions, but where on earth are you and what the hell have you done?’
      excuse, overlook, disregard, ignore, pass over, make allowances for, allow
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • one could (or may) be forgiven for doing something

    • It would be understandable if one mistakenly did a particular thing:

      ‘with the plaster palm trees, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on Hollywood Boulevard’
      • ‘Indeed, you could be forgiven for thinking that corruption lies at the heart of everything we touch, marred as the past days have been with scandals and sackings, although retribution in the financial arena was sadly lacking.’
      • ‘Given the large crowd which will pack the Fife circuit, and the million-plus viewers who will tune in to watch on terrestrial television, you could be forgiven for thinking there can't be much wrong with motorsport as popular as this.’
      • ‘For many, however, the prospect of even trying pink nail varnish on your fingers is a step too far and, by now, you may be forgiven for feeling the only pink that will do is a pink gin.’
      • ‘Peering through the gloom out of the car window, you could be forgiven for thinking you are the butt of some airline employee's warped sense of humour.’
      • ‘For a city that seldom sees snow and is, of course, pancake flat you may be forgiven for thinking that I have quite simply gone mad.’
      • ‘Reading recent coverage of events in north Belfast, you could be forgiven for thinking there was something dodgy in the water turning Belfast residents into sectarian monsters.’
      • ‘Having closed last week's column with reference to a man of the cloth, you may be forgiven for starting to wonder if I've recently found God.’
      • ‘From the outside, with the sounds of laughing children and chooks and the overgrown fence line, you could be forgiven for mistaking Cubbies for some sort of hippy commune.’
      • ‘The Great Yorkshire Show, of course, takes great pride in the livestock on display, although with names like British Belgian Blue and Lincoln Red you could be forgiven for mistaking the names of cattle for cheeses.’
      • ‘Choose a Friday or a Saturday and you may be forgiven for thinking it's now legal to park on double yellow lines after 5pm.’

Origin

Old English forgiefan, of Germanic origin, related to Dutch vergeven and German vergeben, and ultimately to for- and give.

Pronunciation:

forgive

/fəˈɡɪv/