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forbidding (comparative more forbidding, superlative most forbidding)

  1. Appearing to be threatening, unfriendly or potentially unpleasant.
    • 1726, Alexander Pope (translator), The Odyssey of Homer, London, 1760, Volume 3, Book 15, lines 57-58, p. 100,[1]
      What cause, cry’d he, can justify our flight,
      To tempt the dangers of forbidding night?
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, London: T. Egerton, Volume I, Chapter 3,[2]
      [] 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.
    • 1922, Emily Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1923, Chapter 28, p. 498,[3]
      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.
    • 1988, “If You Can’t Fight City Hall, Here’s a Different Idea: Sell It,” The New York Times, 10 January, 1988,[4]
      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 of forbid


forbidding (plural forbiddings)

  1. The act by which something is forbidden; a prohibition.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece,[5]
      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,[6]
      All law was composed of hindrances and obstacles and forbiddings, and therefore he was entirely opposed to Law.