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From Middle English forfenden (to ward off, protect, prohibit), equivalent to for- +‎ fend.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈfɔː(ɹ)ˌfɛnd/, /ˌfə(ɹ)ˈfɛnd/
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


forfend (third-person singular simple present forfends, present participle forfending, simple past and past participle forfended)

  1. (dated) To prohibit; to forbid; to avert.
    • 1594, Thomas Lodge, The Wounds of Civil War, act 4, scene 1, page 54:
      Clown: … You would know where Lord Anthonie is? I perceiue you. Shall I ſay he is in yond farme houſe? I deceiue you. Shall I tell you this wine is for him? the gods forfend, and ſo I end. Go fellow fighters theres a bob for ye.
    • 2008, Lew, short circuit operators,
      What? Multi-posting? Usenet Gods forfend!
    • 2018, Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, page 271:
      People have long given thought to the causes of danger and how they might be forfended.

Usage notes[edit]

  • This word is dated and becoming obsolete. Mostly used now in set expressions such as heaven forfend.