from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To command (someone) not to do something: I forbid you to go.
  • transitive v. To command against the doing or use of (something); prohibit: forbid smoking on trains.
  • transitive v. To have the effect of preventing; preclude: Discretion forbids a reply.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To disallow
  • v. To proscribe

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To utter a prohibition; to prevent; to hinder.
  • transitive v. To command against, or contrary to; to prohibit; to interdict.
  • transitive v. To deny, exclude from, or warn off, by express command; to command not to enter.
  • transitive v. To oppose, hinder, or prevent, as if by an effectual command.
  • transitive v. To accurse; to blast.
  • transitive v. To defy; to challenge.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bid or command, as to a thing, that it shall not be done; prohibit by command, or as with authority; issue an order against, as the doing of or being something; interdict: often with a person as indirect object and an act or thing as direct object: as, to forbid the banns (that is, the proclamation of the banns); I forbid you my house (that is, to enter my house).
  • To prohibit the use or action of; put under ban; restrain within limits.
  • To prohibit in effect; stand in the way of; prevent: as, an impassable river forbids the approach of the army.
  • To defy; challenge.
  • To utter a prohibition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. command against
  • v. keep from happening or arising; make impossible


Middle English forbidden, forbeden, from Old English forbēodan; see bheudh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English forbeden, from Old English forbēodan ("to forbid, prohibit, restrain, refuse, repeal, annul"), equivalent to for- +‎ bid (“to offer, proclaim”). Cognate with Dutch verbieden ("to forbid"), German verbieten ("to forbid"), Danish forbyde ("to forbid"), Swedish förbjuda ("to forbid"). (Wiktionary)


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