Main definitions of forbear in English

: forbear1forbear2

forbear1

verb

[NO OBJECT]formal, literary
  • 1 Politely or patiently restrain an impulse to do something; refrain.

    ‘the boy forbore from touching anything’
    [with infinitive] ‘he modestly forbears to include his own work’
    • ‘I forbore to suggest that a farm dog's life spent chained, minimally fed and continually exposed to so many four-letter words that the dogs learnt to spell them was probably not the dogs' idea of heaven, either.’
    • ‘So, having fastened her window, she forbore to close the shutters, and, propped against the pillows, she lay looking out through the window's casement, entranced by the view, the peace and beauty of that rural summer night.’
    • ‘I forbore to add that Heather's mother still had two legs when she died in 1989.’
    • ‘Sidroc's anger now was only a small part of what he bore for Toki, and the reasons he forbore from killing him must be equally deep and old.’
    • ‘I have forborne from commenting on the latest media circus about Australia's Governor General because of its sheer absurdity but I suppose I should devote a few words to it.’
    refrain, abstain, desist, keep, restrain oneself, stop oneself, hold back, withhold
    resist the temptation to, steer clear of, give a wide berth to, fight shy of
    eschew, avoid, shun, decline to
    cease, give up, break off
    lay off, leave off, swear off
    give over, jack in
    belay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Refrain from doing or using (something)
      ‘Rebecca could not forbear a smile’
      • ‘I know that for myself it makes no difference whether I do or forbear those actions which are reckoned excellent.’
      • ‘I cannot forbear observing the philosophical significance of the fact that Autobiography fails to include a photograph of LeWitt himself.’
      • ‘Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.’
      • ‘He had forborne his opportunity to acquire his title directly from the seller with whom he had negotiated for purchase of the farm.’
      • ‘Still, I could not forbear asking one more question as he walked away.’

Origin

Old English forberan (see for-, bear). The original senses were endure, bear with hence endure the absence of something, do without also bear up against, control oneself hence refrain from ( Middle English).

Main definitions of forbear in English

: forbear1forbear2

forbear2

noun