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forbidding (comparative more forbidding, superlative most forbidding)

  1. Appearing to be threatening, unfriendly or potentially unpleasant.
    • 1725–1726, Homer, “Book 3”, in [William Broome, Elijah Fenton, and Alexander Pope], transl., The Odyssey of Homer. [], London: [] Bernard Lintot, →OCLC, page 15, lines 57-58:
      What cause, cry’d he, can justify our flight,
      To tempt the dangers of forbidding night?
    • 1813 January 27, [Jane Austen], chapter 3, in Pride and Prejudice: [], volume I, London: [] [George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton, [], →OCLC:
      [] he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
    • 1841 February–November, Charles Dickens, “Barnaby Rudge”, in Master Humphrey’s Clock, volume II, London: Chapman & Hall, [], →OCLC, chapter 12, page 301:
      With no great disparity between them in point of years, they were, in every other respect, as unlike and far removed from each other as two men could well be. The one was soft-spoken, delicately made, precise, and elegant; the other, a burly square-built man, negligently dressed, rough and abrupt in manner, stern, and, in his present mood, forbidding both in look and speech.
    • 1922, Emily Post, chapter 28, in Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home[1], New York: Funk & Wagnalls, published 1923, page 498:
      The writer of the “blank” letter begins fluently with the date and “Dear Mary,” and then sits and chews his penholder or makes little dots and squares and circles on the blotter—utterly unable to attack the cold, forbidding blankness of that first page.
    • 1951 January, H. A. Vallance, “Kyle of Lochalsh Revisited”, in Railway Magazine, page 14:
      As we breasted the first summit, the precipitous mass of the Raven's Rock, towering some 250 ft. above the railway, looked grim and forbidding in the failing light, and distant Ben Wyves was shrouded in mist.
    • 1988 January 10, “If You Can’t Fight City Hall, Here’s a Different Idea: Sell It”, in The New York Times:
      Its forbidding brick and concrete exterior looms over a vast, windswept brick plaza in a style architectural critics, not without admiration, call “The New Brutalism.”





  1. present participle and gerund of forbid


forbidding (plural forbiddings)

  1. The act by which something is forbidden; a prohibition.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, Lucrece (First Quarto)‎[2], London: [] Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, [], →OCLC:
      But all these poor forbiddings could not stay him;
    • 1920, St. John G. Ervine, The Foolish Lovers, London: W. Collins & Sons, Chapter 3, VIII, p. 228,[3]
      All law was composed of hindrances and obstacles and forbiddings, and therefore he was entirely opposed to Law.