Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

forbid - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] forbid pronunciation in American English /fərˈbɪd/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleforbidding
past tenseforbid or forbad
past participleforbidden
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to state that something is not allowed, according to a rule, law, or custom
    forbid someone to do something/from doing something:

    Army policy forbids soldiers in uniform from talking to reporters.

    1. a.
      to tell someone that they must not do something

      You’re not going out tonight – I absolutely forbid it.

      forbid someone to do something/from doing something:

      The situation is so dangerous that the relief agencies have forbidden their workers to go there.

  2. 2
    formal to make something impossible, or to prevent something from happening

    Hannah is a natural musician, although modesty forbids her to say so.

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play