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forgive - definition and synonyms

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verb [transitive]     forgive pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleforgiving
past tenseforgave
past participleforgiven
  1. 1
    to decide that you will not be angry with someone who has offended, upset, or harmed you

    His children have never fully forgiven him.

    forgive someone for doing something:

    She eventually forgave him for forgetting her birthday.

    forgive yourself:

    John has never forgiven himself for the accident.

    forgive someone something:

    They’re nice boys, so we tend to forgive them their occasional bad behaviour.

  2. 2
    economics if a country or bank forgives a debt, they decide that the debt does not have to be paid back


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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