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forgive - Dictionary definition and pronunciation - Yahoo! Education

forgiveness on Resources - for·give audio (fr-gv, fôr-) KEY


for·gave (-gv) KEY , for·giv·en (-gvn) KEY , for·giv·ing, for·gives



To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.

To renounce anger or resentment against.

To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).



To accord forgiveness.


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


for·giva·ble(Adjective), for·giva·bly(Adverb), for·giver(Noun)


forgive, pardon, excuse, condone

These verbs mean to refrain from imposing punishment on an offender or demanding satisfaction for an offense. The first three can be used as conventional ways of offering apology. More strictly, to forgive is to grant pardon without harboring resentment: "Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them" (Oscar Wilde). Pardon more strongly implies release from the liability for or penalty entailed by an offense: After the revolution all political prisoners were pardoned. To excuse is to pass over a mistake or fault without demanding punishment or redress: "There are some acts of injustice which no national interest can excuse" (J.A. Froude). To condone is to overlook an offense, usually a serious one, and often suggests tacit forgiveness: Failure to protest the policy may imply a willingness to condone it.

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