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

  • transitive v. To precede, as in time or place.
  • v. Variant of forgo.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To precede, to go before.
  • v. Alternative spelling of forgo; to abandon, to relinquish

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To quit; to relinquish; to leave.
  • transitive v. To relinquish the enjoyment or advantage of; to give up; to resign; to renounce; -- said of a thing already enjoyed, or of one within reach, or anticipated.
  • transitive v. To go before; to precede; -- used especially in the present and past participles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go before; precede.
  • To go forward; go on.
  • See forgo.

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

  • v. do without or cease to hold or adhere to
  • v. lose ( or lose the right to ( by some error, offense, or crime
  • v. be earlier in time; go back further


Middle English foregon, from Old English foregān : fore-, fore- + gān, go; see ghē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English foregān, corresponding to fore- +‎ go. (Wiktionary)
See forgo (Wiktionary)



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  • one wonders when and why this variant (and it is legitimately listed by M-W as a variant) arose, as the etymology puts 'forgo' down as for- and go, sans 'e'.

    you've got a bit of The Duchess in your prose style, qroqqa.

    June 20, 2009

  • *weeps*

    June 19, 2009

  • To be prescriptive about spelling, which I occasionally am, this word should never be seen except in the expressionforegone conclusion (and possibly the foregoing).

    'Why is that?' <-- READER'S VOICE

    Because, amiable reader, we have a perfectly good spelling distinction between fore- with a literal or metaphorical meaning of "before" in space or time (forecourt, forequarters, forehead, foreground; forethought, foreordain, foreshadow) and the different prefix for- with an obscure meaning vaguely like "completely" or "off, away"—and to forgo is to do without, to forbear is to put up with; whereas a forebear is one born before. In actual usage this distinction is mostly adhered to. Less tears would be shed by the meaner kind of spellers if we kept piously to it.

    June 19, 2009