Definition of forbidding in US English:



  • Unfriendly or threatening in appearance.

    ‘a grim and forbidding building’
    • ‘It was with not a little nostalgia that I responded to similar saliva-inducing twittering last week, emanating from inside the forbidding walls of the Smithsonian Institution.’
    • ‘The site previously consisted of a number of unimaginative prison buildings, overlooked by the parapets of the Fort on the top of the hill, a forbidding looking building itself.’
    • ‘Isolated and ruined, it sits on 1000 acres of windswept, forbidding land, and is the quintessential haunted house.’
    • ‘In a country where female scientists remain constrained by a forbidding glass ceiling, the appointment of the neuroscientist is being hailed as a major breakthrough.’
    • ‘Themes of kids at play and sinister, forbidding landscapes remain, processed through a computer and enhanced by found sounds and distorted, provocatively repetitive tone patterns.’
    • ‘The two brothers aren't larger than life myths sprung to life, but ordinary hunters attempting to provide for themselves and their families in a forbidding and hostile world.’
    • ‘Beam's overdubbed harmonies, delivered in a repetitive cadence, are spooky without being forbidding, bringing Low's early work to mind, if only in pace and tone.’
    • ‘Living in hotels, engaging in empty sexual encounters, silently and impassively taking in the world without responding very much to it, Anna is a mysterious and somewhat forbidding figure.’
    • ‘Seventy-five miles of this forbidding structure have already been built, with a total projected length of more than 200 miles.’
    • ‘Both the Utes and early Spanish explorers avoided the forbidding gorge; for many years it remained an impenetrable mystery.’
    • ‘In any event, potential disruptions can be dealt with easily by having participants in the system hold sufficient capital to absorb losses or forbidding daylight overdrafts.’
    • ‘They will brave the most adverse conditions and penetrate the most forbidding terrain.’
    • ‘His first impression was the airport, which seemed a very forbidding, communist building.’
    • ‘She is an ex-con who served nine months in the forbidding maximum security prison in Lexington, Kentucky.’
    • ‘While the balmy lowlands along the southwest border seldom experienced any snow, the frigid peaks and plateaus to the northeast bore a forbidding climate all year round.’
    • ‘Scotland, despite that forbidding losing margin, did finally find the performance we had been waiting for all season and Ireland looked unlikely championship material as their visitors got stuck in with scant regard to reputation.’
    • ‘She found that she could not think straight, for her mind kept returning to the forbidding trees - unfriendly reminders of the peaceful days of her childhood.’
    • ‘He started Baptist church school at the age of eight, in a forbidding Victorian grey brick building.’
    • ‘The suppression of detail causes the stepped facade of the building to read like forbidding ridges or dangerous protective fins.’
    • ‘When our children bring home their textbooks from the new school with the forbidding heavy volumes of mathematics and physics, those books are simply the attempt of men to describe the world Christ made and sustains.’
    hostile, unwelcoming, unfriendly, unsympathetic, unapproachable, harsh, grim, stern, hard, tough, cool, cold, chilly, frosty
    threatening, ominous, menacing, sinister, brooding, daunting, fearsome, frightening, chilling, disturbing, disquieting
    View synonyms