Definition of forfeit in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːfɪt/

verb (forfeits, forfeiting, forfeited)

[with object]
1Lose or be deprived of (property or a right or privilege) as a penalty for wrongdoing: those unable to meet their taxes were liable to forfeit their estates
More example sentences
  • When women wed, they forfeited the property rights that they enjoyed as single women.
  • Where the property is owned jointly, the partner leaving the marital home does not forfeit rights to the property.
  • Previously the courts could prevent property from being forfeited if it was thought to be excessively hard, in the way the law was applied.
1.1Lose or give up (something) as a necessary consequence of something else: she didn’t mind forfeiting an hour in bed to muck out the horses
More example sentences
  • Yet even when Rome's enemies matched the superpower atrocity for atrocity, they were not necessarily forfeiting their chances of posthumous fame.
  • The Government of Ireland Act had allowed for Northern Ireland to opt out of the Irish Free State, and there is precious little evidence to suggest that unionists were minded to forfeit this opportunity.
  • If the ladies don't get some new members they will have to disband and forfeit the hour so don't be afraid and use the hour to display your skills and point scoring ability.
surrender, relinquish, hand over, deliver up, part with, yield, sacrifice, give up, renounce, be stripped of/deprived of, lose
informal pass up, lose out on


1A fine or penalty for wrongdoing: the loser must pay a forfeit
More example sentences
  • If the flame should accidentally be extinguished during transfer, then the receiving player is eliminated from the game, and must pay a forfeit.
  • Count down - throw a ball to each other, but if you miss you must pay a forfeit.
  • They have pledged to pay a forfeit to charity each time they made the error themselves.
penalty, financial penalty, fine, fee, charge, sanction, punitive action, penance;
confiscation, loss, relinquishment, forfeiture;
Law  sequestration
English Law , historical amercement
rare mulct
1.1 Law An item of property or a right or privilege lost as a legal penalty.
Example sentences
  • If he steps outside, he has breached the sureties of forfeit.
  • Otherwise, the forfeit demanded of me is illegal and void.
1.2 (forfeits) A game in which trivial penalties are exacted for minor misdemeanours.
1.3 [mass noun] The action of forfeiting something.
Example sentences
  • Fish & Neave's record climbed to 4-5, two of the wins by forfeit.
  • Notwithstanding those performances, Forsyth conceded he may have to do the embarrassing end-of-season forfeit for players who finish the campaign try-less.
  • The other scheduled game saw Stormbirds win by forfeit over TDC.


Lost or surrendered as a penalty for wrongdoing: his possessions were declared forfeit
More example sentences
  • Breakaways had a double win this weekend with their on-court 38-23 victory over Tribes followed by a forfeit victory over All Saints from their game held over from the first round.
  • How does that work with condemnation of forfeit goods?
  • Let's face it, the Red Sox are a bigger reason than Hurricane Frances as to why the Yankees were seeking a forfeit victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Monday.



Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːfɪtəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Seize his house on the theory that it's a forfeitable asset, since it was used to facilitate an illegal transaction.
  • The same result would arise if the stock were not expressly forfeitable, but Tom was subject to insider trading restrictions imposed by Sec. 16 of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act.
  • The stock (one-third of the bonus) is placed in a forfeitable account to assure long-term commitment; it vests 100 percent in five years.


Pronunciation: /ˈfɔːfɪtə/
Example sentences
  • That was at the end of August, and the car, twice badly shaken, was a forfeiter for the rest of the season.
  • If the forfeiter applies for reconsideration or submits to court in duration, the legal system institution will take part in the reconsideration or lawsuit.
  • The leader might also make up something embarrassing for the forfeiter to do such as yawn until someone else yawns or recite a silly tongue twister perfectly.


Middle English (originally denoting a crime or transgression, hence a fine): from Old French forfet, forfait, past participle of forfaire 'transgress', from for- 'out' (from Latin foris 'outside') + faire 'do' (from Latin facere).

  • forest from Middle English:

    You would not necessarily link forest and foreign, but they have the same Latin root. Forest came via French from the Latin phrase forestis silva, literally ‘wood outside’, from foris ‘out of doors, outside’ and silva ‘a wood’. The first word moved into English and became our ‘forest’. In early use forest had a special legal sense. It was an area, usually belonging to the king, that was intended for hunting, a mixture of woodland, heath, scrub, and farmland not as thickly wooded as forests today. It had its own forest laws, and officers appointed to enforce them. The New Forest in Hampshire was reserved as Crown property by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a royal hunting area, and still has its own rules and officers, or verderers (mid 16th century), a word that comes from Latin viridis, ‘green’—compare the expression greenwood (Middle English). Forfeit (Middle English) which originally meant ‘a crime or offence’, with the meaning of a fine or penalty developing from this, is also from foris, as are forum, literally ‘what is out of doors’ in Latin, but used to mean ‘market place’ and then ‘meeting place’. Forensic (mid 17th century) comes from Latin forensis ‘in open court, public’, from forum. Because we so often hear the expression forensic science in the context of solving a mystery, it is sometimes forgotten that the term means the application of medical knowledge to support the law.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: for|feit

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