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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.
    • 1726, N[athan] Bailey, “To ABANDON”, in An Universal Etymological English Dictionary: [], 3rd edition, London: Printed for J. Darby, [], OCLC 863527253:
      To ABANDON [...] to forſake utterly, to caſt off; to give up ones ſelf wholly to any prevailing Paſſion or Vice.
    • 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.
    • 1998, "Damien", season 1, episode 10 of South Park
      Stan: You've got to fight, Jesus.
      Jesus: Why, what's the point? No one believes in me. Everyone put their money on Satan. My father forsaked[sic] me, the town forsaked[sic] me. I'm completely forsook[sic].



  • forsake in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
  • Notes:


Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


From Low German vorsaken, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *frasakaną. Cognate with 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, forsake
  2. to denounce (the devil)

Derived terms[edit]