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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English fordon, from Old English fordōn (to undo, bring to naught, ruin, destroy, abolish, kill, corrupt, seduce, defile), from Proto-Germanic *fardōną, *fradōną (to ruin, destroy), equivalent to for- +‎ do. Cognate with Dutch verdoen (to kill, waste), German vertun (to waste, spend, consume).



fordo (third-person singular simple present fordoes, present participle fordoing, simple past fordid, past participle fordone)

  1. (obsolete) To kill, destroy.
    • 1602, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act V scene 1:
      [] This doth betoken / The corpse they follow did with desperate hand / Fordo it own life.
  2. (obsolete) To annul, abolish, cancel.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xv, in Le Morte Darthur, book III:
      And that penaūce god hath ordeyned yow for that dede / that he that ye shalle most truste to of ony man alyue / he shalle leue yow ther ye shalle be slayne / Me forthynketh said kynge Pellinore that this shalle me betyde but god may fordoo wel desteny
  3. (archaic) To do away with, undo; to ruin.
    • Sir John Mandeville
      And yet there is at Alexandria a fair church, all white without paintures; and so be all the other churches that were of the Christian men, all white within, for the Paynims and the Saracens made them white for to fordo the images of saints that were painted on the walls.
  4. (archaic) To overcome with fatigue; to exhaust.
    • 1874, James Thomson, The City of Dreadful Night
      worn faces (...) / they wander, wander, / Or sit foredone and desolately ponder / Through sleepless hours with heavy drooping head.
    • 1911, Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson:
      Foredone by the agitation of the past hour, he did not at once realise what it was that he saw.