There are 2 main definitions of forbear in English:

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forbear 1

Pronunciation: /fɔːˈbɛː/

verb (past forbore /fɔːˈbɔː/; past participle forborne /fɔːˈbɔːn/)

[no object]
Politely or patiently restrain an impulse to do something; refrain: [with infinitive]: he modestly forbears to include his own work
More example sentences
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
refrain, abstain, desist, keep, restrain oneself, stop oneself, hold back, withhold;
resist the temptation to, steer clear of, give a wide berth to, fight shy of;
eschew, avoid, shun, decline to;
cease, give up, break off
informal lay off, leave off, swear off
British informal give over, jack in
nautical slang belay


Old English forberan (see for-, bear1). The original senses were 'endure, bear with', hence 'endure the absence of, do without', also 'control oneself', hence 'refrain from' (Middle English).

Words that rhyme with forbear

affair, affaire, air, Altair, Althusser, Anvers, Apollinaire, Astaire, aware, Ayer, Ayr, bare, bear, bêche-de-mer, beware, billionaire, Blair, blare, Bonaire, cafetière, care, chair, chargé d'affaires, chemin de fer, Cher, Clair, Claire, Clare, commissionaire, compare, concessionaire, cordon sanitaire, couvert, Daguerre, dare, debonair, declare, derrière, despair, doctrinaire, éclair, e'er, elsewhere, ensnare, ere, extraordinaire, Eyre, fair, fare, fayre, Finisterre, flair, flare, Folies-Bergère, forswear, foursquare, glair, glare, hair, hare, heir, Herr, impair, jardinière, Khmer, Kildare, La Bruyère, lair, laissez-faire, legionnaire, luminaire, mal de mer, mare, mayor, meunière, mid-air, millionaire, misère, Mon-Khmer, multimillionaire, ne'er, Niger, nom de guerre, outstare, outwear, pair, pare, parterre, pear, père, pied-à-terre, Pierre, plein-air, prayer, questionnaire, rare, ready-to-wear, rivière, Rosslare, Santander, savoir faire, scare, secretaire, share, snare, solitaire, Soufrière, spare, square, stair, stare, surface-to-air, swear, Tailleferre, tare, tear, their, there, they're, vin ordinaire, Voltaire, ware, wear, Weston-super-Mare, where, yeah forebear
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There are 2 main definitions of forbear in English:

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forbear 2

Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːbɛː/


Variant spelling of forebear.
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