Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To give up resentment against or stop wanting to punish (someone) for an offense or fault; pardon.
  • intransitive verb To relent in being angry or in wishing to exact punishment for (an offense or fault).
  • intransitive verb To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).
  • intransitive verb To grant forgiveness.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To give up; resign.
  • To give; grant.
  • To grant free pardon for or remission of, as a wrongful act or an obligation; give up all claims for or on account of: sometimes with the thing forgiven as direct objective (accusative), preceded by the person as indirect objective (dative): as, to forgive an injury; to forgive a person his debts.
  • To grant free pardon to; cease to blame or feel resentment against; restore to good will.
  • Synonyms To pass over, overlook.
  • Pardon, Forgive (see pardon); to excuse, let off.
  • To exercise forgiveness; be lenient or forgiving.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To give wholly; to make over without reservation; to resign.
  • transitive verb To give up resentment or claim to requital on account of (an offense or wrong); to remit the penalty of; to pardon; -- said in reference to the act forgiven.
  • transitive verb To cease to feel resentment against, on account of wrong committed; to give up claim to requital from or retribution upon (an offender); to absolve; to pardon; -- said of the person offending.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To pardon, to waive any negative feeling or desire for punishment.
  • verb intransitive To accord forgiveness.

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

  • verb absolve from payment
  • verb stop blaming or grant forgiveness

Etymologies

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

[Middle English forgiven, from Old English forgiefan; see ghabh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English forgiven ("to forgive"), from Old English forġiefan ("to forgive, give up, provide"), corresponding to for- +‎ give. Cognate with Dutch vergeven, German vergeben.

Examples

  • Her eyes—she knew me—she smiled—she whispered—forgive me, Curt, —forgive her—when it was I who should have said forgive me—but before I could—she—— [He falters brokenly.] 166

    Act III. The First Man

  • Charity came with such power that her commands actually overruled in many instances the feeble claims of Justice, so that she bade men henceforward to forgive, for example, not merely according to Justice, but according to her own Divine nature, to _forgive unto seventy times seven_, to give _good measure, heaped up and running over_, and not the bare minimum which men had merely earned.

    Paradoxes of Catholicism

  • When you really look at the word "forgive" it means: to stop feeling angry or resentful toward.

    Jennifer Lauck: Forgive the Unforgivable. How?

  • When you really look at the word "forgive" it means: to stop feeling angry or resentful toward.

    Jennifer Lauck: Forgive the Unforgivable. How?

  • To forgive is the ultimate grace and is in the best tradition of Jesus who taught to turn the other cheek.

    Think Progress » Van Jones to Glenn Beck: ‘I see you, and I love you, brother.’ (Updated)

  • What they will not forgive is a ‘perfect’ book, but the story falls flat.

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » Read. It. Aloud.

  • In an ancient tale from the Kaballah, God told some angels in training that the capacity to forgive is the most excellent gift in the human experience, more essential to the continuity of life than the courage to sacrifice your own life for someone else or enduring the pain of giving life.

    Wendy Strgar: The Truth About Forgiveness

  • In an ancient tale from the Kaballah, God told some angels in training that the capacity to forgive is the most excellent gift in the human experience, more essential to the continuity of life than the courage to sacrifice your own life for someone else or enduring the pain of giving life.

    Wendy Strgar: The Truth About Forgiveness

  • To forgive is good, of course to do that he would have to admit he was wrong.

    Amy | clusterflock

  • The only cheater I am willing to forgive is Eliot Spitzer (of course I'm not married to him) – he was energetic, driven, strong and very smart!

    Details of Sanford book deal to come this week

Comments

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  • Giles: "To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it."

    September 12, 2008