One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Politely or patiently restrain an impulse to do something; refrain.with infinitive ‘he modestly forbears to include his own work’‘the boy forbore from touching anything’
refrain, abstain, desist, keep, restrain oneself, stop oneself, hold back, withholdView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘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 forbore to add that Heather's mother still had two legs when she died in 1989.’
- ‘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 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.’
- 1.1with 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.’
- ‘He had forborne his opportunity to acquire his title directly from the seller with whom he had negotiated for purchase of the farm.’
- ‘Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.’
- ‘Still, I could not forbear asking one more question as he walked away.’
Old English forberan (see for-, bear). The original senses were ‘endure, bear with’, hence ‘endure the absence of, do without’, also ‘control oneself’, hence ‘refrain from’ ( Middle English).
- variant spelling of forebear
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