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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].


  • IPA(key): /fɔɹˈseɪk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪk


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.
    • 1709, Matthew Prior, “Henry and Emma. []”, in The Poetical Works of Matthew Prior [], volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan, [], published 1779, OCLC 491256769, page 246:
      Let Prudence yet obſtruct thy venturous way; / And take good heed, what men will think and ſay: / That beauteous Emma vagrant courſes took; / Her father's houſe and civil life forſook; / That, full of youthful blood, and fond of man; / She to the wood-land with an exile ran.
    • 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.
    • 1910 January 12, Ameen Rihani, The Book of Khalid, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published October 1911, OCLC 6412012, book the first (In the Exchange), page 36:
      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?
    • 1961 November, H. G. Ellison and P. G. Barlow, “Journey through France: Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, page 665:
      After the junction at Saincaize the line forsakes the Loire, which it has followed for many miles, for its great tributary the Allier, and runs through St. Germain-des-Fossés, the junction for St. Etienne, and Vichy to Clermont Ferrand.
    • 1998 February 4, “Damien”, in South Park, season 1, episode 10:
      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]