forsake

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English forsaken (to abandon, desert, repudiate, withdraw allegiance from; to deny, reject, shun; to betray; to divorce (a spouse); to disown; to be false to (one's nature, vows, etc.; to give up, renounce, surrender; to discard; to omit; to decline, refuse, reject; to avoid, escape; to cease, desist; to evade, neglect; to contradict, refute; to depart, leave; to become detached, separate) [and other forms],[1] from Old English forsacan (to oppose; to give up, renounce; to decline, refuse),[2] from Proto-West Germanic *frasakan (to forsake, renounce), from Proto-Germanic *fra- (prefix meaning ‘away, off’) + *sakaną (to charge; to dispute) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *seh₂g- (to seek out)). The English word can be analysed as for- +‎ sake, and is cognate with Saterland Frisian ferseeke (to deny, refuse), West Frisian fersaakje, Dutch verzaken (to renounce, forsake), Middle High German versachen (to deny), Danish forsage (to give up), Swedish försaka (to be without, give up), Norwegian forsake (to give up, renounce), Gothic 𐍃𐌰𐌺𐌰𐌽 (sakan, to quarrel; to rebuke), .

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To abandon, to give up, to leave (permanently), to renounce (someone or something).
    • 1549 March 7, Thomas Cranmer [et al.], compilers, “Of the Administracion of Publyke Baptisme to be Used in the Churche”, in The Booke of the Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacramentes, [], London: [] Edowardi Whitchurche [], →OCLC:
      Doeſt thou forſake the deuill and all his workes? / Aunſwere. I forſake them.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, Lucrece (First Quarto)‎[1], London: [] Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, [], →OCLC:
      Such hazard now muſt doting Tarqvin make, / Pawning his honor to obtaine his luſt, / And for himſelfe, himſelfe he muſt forſake.
    • 1611, Richard Brathwayte [i.e., Richard Brathwait], “The Third Sonet”, in The Golden Fleece. [], London: [] W[illiam] S[tansby] for Christopher Purfett [], →OCLC:
      Thou lou'd the Church once, and didſt God adore, / But now forſakest him, thou lou'd before.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Matthew 27:46, column 1:
      And about the ninth houre, Jeſus cried with a loud voyce, ſaying, Eli, Eli, lamaſabachthani, that is to ſay, My God, my God, why haſt thou forſaken mee?
    • 1617, John Moore, “Of the Miserable Life, and Wretched State of Man, by the Meanes of Sinne and Death”, in A Mappe of Mans Mortalitie. [], [] T[homas] S[nodham] for George Edvvards, [], →OCLC, 1st book (What Death is in It Selfe), page 44:
      He is forſaken of the world, his kinfolk, friends, and acquaintance; his owne members and ſenſes faile him; yea, hee forſaketh (as it were) himſelfe, in that the very vſe of reaſon forſaketh him.
    • 1709, Matthew Prior, “Henry and Emma. []”, in The Poetical Works of Matthew Prior [], volume I, London: [] W[illiam] Strahan, [], published 1779, →OCLC, 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: [] J. Darby, [], →OCLC:
      To ABANDON [...] to forſake utterly, to caſt off; to give up ones ſelf wholly to any prevailing Paſſion or Vice.
    • 1782, William Cowper, “Hope”, in Poems, London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, [], →OCLC, page 176:
      That conſcience there performs her proper part, / And writes a doomſday ſentence on his heart; / Forſaking, and forſaken of all friends, / He now perceives where earthly pleaſure ends, [...]
    • 1841 May 29, Richard Oastler, The Fleet Papers; Being Letters to Thomas Thornhill, Esq. []; from Richard Oastler, [], volume I, number 22, London: W. J. Cleaver, []; and John Pavey, [], →OCLC, page 172:
      After having opened the flood-gates to free trade, he [William Huskisson] discovered his error; but his nerve forsook him, and he could not close the gates.
    • 1910 January 12, Ameen Rihani, The Book of Khalid, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published October 1911, →OCLC, 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?
    • 1952, “The Ballad of High Noon”, Ned Washington (lyrics), Dimitri Tiomkin (music), performed by Tex Ritter:
      Do not forsake me, oh my darlin' / You made that promise when we wed / Do not forsake me, oh my darlin' / Although you're grievin', I can't be leavin' / Until I shoot Frank Miller dead
    • 1961 November, H. G. Ellison, P. G. Barlow, “Journey through France: Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, London: Ian Allan Publishing, →ISSN, →OCLC, 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, Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Dave Polsky, “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]
    • 2007, Alexander F[rank] Skutch, “Duty”, in Moral Foundations: An Introduction to Ethics, Mount Jackson, Va.: Axios Press, →ISBN, page 447:
      But whence comes this strange feeling of duty, which goads exceptional individuals to antagonize their neighbors, forsake peace of mind and bodily comfort, jeopardize their fortunes and their lives—to risk, in short, all those advantages which the careful observance of conventional duties would place more securely in their grasp, by strengthening their position in the social order?
    • 2010 January 14, Helene Cooper, “Obama pledges aid to Haiti”, in The New York Times[2], New York, N.Y.: The New York Times Company, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 16 December 2020:
      Saying he wanted to "speak directly to the people of Haiti," Mr. [Barack] Obama gave a brief address from the White House that was one of the sharpest displays of emotion of his presidency. "You will not be forsaken. You will not be forgotten," he said, and stopped to compose himself. "In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you."
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To decline or refuse (something offered).
    • 1697, Virgil, “The Third Book of the Georgics”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], →OCLC, page 106, lines 329–330 and 333–336:
      The youthful Bull muſt wander in the Wood; / Behind the Mountain, or beyond the Flood: / [...] / With two fair Eyes his Miſtreſs burns his Breaſt; / He looks and languiſhes, and leaves his Reſt; / Forſakes his Food, and pining for the Laſs, / Is joyleſs of the Grove, and ſpurns the growing Graſs.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To avoid or shun (someone or something).
    • 1580, Thomas Tusser, “The Authors Beleefe”, in Fiue Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie: [], London: [] Henrie Denham [beeing the assigne of William Seres] [], →OCLC; republished as W[illiam] Payne and Sidney J[ohn Hervon] Herrtage, editors, Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie. [], London: Published for the English Dialect Society by Trübner & Co., [], 1878, →OCLC, stanza 14, page 196:
      This was that Pascall lambe [i.e., Jesus] whose loue for vs so stood, / That on the mount of Caluerie, for vs did shed his blood: / Where hanging on the Crosse, no shame he did forsake, / Till death giuen him by pearcing speare, an ende of life did make.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To cause disappointment to; to be insufficient for (someone or something).
    • 1791, Oliver Goldsmith, “Of the Humming-bird, and Its Varieties”, in An History of the Earth, and Animated Nature. [], new edition, volume V, London: [] F[rancis] Wingrave, successor to Mr. [John] Nourse, [], →OCLC, part IV (Of Birds of the Sparrow Kind), page 320:
      Theſe birds, on the continent of America, continue to flutter the year round; as their food, which is the honey of flowers, never forſakes them in thoſe warm latitudes where they are found.

Conjugation[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ forsāken, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ forsake, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1897; “forsake, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Low German vorsaken, from Old Saxon farsakan, from Proto-West Germanic *frasakan (to forsake, renounce).

Verb[edit]

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]

References[edit]