forbear, forebear
1. Forbear is a verb (pronounced with the stress on the second syllable) meaning ‘to abstain from, go without’ and is usually followed by to + infinitive or from + verb in -ing:

• He did not enquire after their progress and Nutty forbore to mention it —K. M. Peyton, 1988

• Naturally he couldn't forbear from upsetting me —Will Self, 1993.

Its past form is forbore and its past participle is forborn.
2. Forebear is a noun (pronounced with the stress on the first syllable) meaning ‘an ancestor’:

• Henry Carew had chosen the Church as some of his forebears had done —T. Hayden, 1991

• An early forebear went to Chicago and made a fortune in the grain business —Daily Mail, 2007.

Forebear is also used figuratively:

• Writing with what at times seems near-compulsive erudition, he details the philosophical and political forebears and descendants of just about every significant thinker whose work has any relevance to science or policy —Times Higher Education Supplement, 2000.

The situation is complicated somewhat by the fact that most dictionaries allow forbear as a variant of forebear, but the advice here is to maintain the distinction.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Forbear — For*bear (f[o^]r*b[^a]r ), v. i. [imp. {Forbore}({Forbare}, [Obs.]); p. p. {Forborne}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Forbearing}.] [OE. forberen, AS. forberan; pref. for + beran to bear. See {Bear} to support.] 1. To refrain from proceeding; to pause; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Forbear — For*bear , v. t. 1. To keep away from; to avoid; to abstain from; to give up; as, to forbear the use of a word of doubtful propriety. [1913 Webster] But let me that plunder forbear. Shenstone. [1913 Webster] The King In open battle or the tilting …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • forbear — I verb abstain, be patient, be temperate, be tolerant, bear with, break off, cease, decline, delay enforcing rights, deny oneself, desist from, dispense with, do without, endure, forgo, hold back, hold in abeyance, hold off, keep back, keep from …   Law dictionary

  • Forbear — For*bear (f[o^]r*b[^a]r ), n. [See {Fore}, and {Bear} to produce.] An ancestor; a forefather; usually in the plural. [Scot.] [Also spelled {forebear}.] Your forbears of old. Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • forbear — 1 *forgo, abnegate, eschew, sacrifice Analogous words: *restrain, curb, bridle, inhibit: avoid, *escape, evade, shun: desist, cease (see STOP) 2 *refrain, abstain Analogous words: suffe …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • forbear — [v] resist the temptation to abstain, avoid, bridle, cease, curb, decline, desist, escape, eschew, evade, forgo, go easy*, hold back*, inhibit, keep, keep from, omit, pause, refrain, restrain, sacrifice, shun, stop, withhold; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • forbear — [1] ► VERB (past forbore; past part. forborne) ▪ refrain from doing something. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • forbear — forbear1 [fôr ber′] vt. forbore or Archaic forbare, forborne, forbearing [ME forberen < OE forberan: see FOR & BEAR1] 1. to refrain from; avoid or cease (doing, saying, etc.) 2. Now Chiefly Dial. to endure; tolerate …   English World dictionary

  • forbear — for|bear1 [fo:ˈbeə, fə US fo:rˈber, fər ] v past tense forbore [ ˈbo: US ˈbo:r] past participle forborne [ ˈbo:n US ˈbo:rn] [i]literary [: Old English; Origin: forberan] to not do something you could or would like to do because you think it is… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • forbear — {{11}}forbear (n.) ancestor, late 15c., from FORE (Cf. fore) before + be er one who exists; agent noun from BE (Cf. be). {{12}}forbear (v.) to abstain, O.E. forberan bear up against, control one s feelings, endure, from FOR (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

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