From Old English forniman (“to take away, deprive of, plunder, waste, devastate, destroy, consume, annul, disfigure, overcome”), from Proto-Germanic *farnemaną, *franemaną (“to take away, hear, learn”), equivalent to for- + nimen.
Cognate with West Frisian fornimme (“to learn, hear, find out”), Dutch vernemen (“to learn, hear, find out, understand”), German vernehmen (“to hear, learn, question, examine”), Swedish förnimma (“to apprehend, perceive, notice”). More at for-, nim.
- (transitive) to take away, remove; deprive
- (transitive) to destroy, do away with, fordo
- (transitive) to encroach upon
1Replaced by the indicative in later Middle English.
2Sometimes used as a formal 2nd-person singular.