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From Middle English forsaken(to reject, deny), from Old English forsacan(to dispute, quarrel, refuse, oppose), from Proto-Germanic *frasakaną(to renounce), equivalent to for- +‎ sake. Akin to West Frisian fersaakje, Dutch verzaken(to renounce; forsake), Middle High German versachen(to deny), Danish forsage(to give up), Norwegian forsake(to give up, renounce), Swedish försaka(to give up, to be without), Gothic 𐍃𐌰𐌺𐌰𐌽(sakan, to rebuke, quarrel).[1]



forsake (third-person singular simple present forsakes, present participle forsaking, simple past forsook, past participle forsaken)

  1. To abandon, to give up, to leave (permanently), to renounce.
    • 1911: Ameen Rihani, The Book of Khalid, p.39
      There may be nothing noble in renouncing one's country, in abandoning one's home, in forsaking one's people; but is there not something remarkable in this great move one makes.



  • forsake in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  • Notes:
  1. ^ forsake in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Ultimately from Proto-Germanic *frasakaną. Compare Danish forsage, Swedish försaka, English forsake, Dutch verzaken.


forsake (imperative forsak, present tense forsaker, simple past and past participle forsaka or forsaket, present participle forsakende)

  1. to give up, relinquish
  2. to denounce (the devil)

Derived terms[edit]