forfeit (n.) Look up forfeit at
late 14c., forfet, "misdeed, offense against established authority," also "something to which the right is lost through a misdeed," from Old French forfet, forfait "crime, punishable offense" (12c.), originally past participle of forfaire "transgress," from for- "outside, beyond" (from Latin foris; see foreign) + faire "to do" (from Latin facere; see factitious). A French version of Medieval Latin foris factum; the notion perhaps is to "do too much, go beyond (what is right)." As an adjective from late 14c., from Old French forfait. Compare foreclose.
forfeit (v.) Look up forfeit at
mid-14c., " transgress, offend, misbehave;" late 14c., "to lose by misconduct," from forfeit (n.) or from Anglo-French forfet, Old French forfait, past participle of forfaire. Related: Forfeited; forfeits; forfeiting.
forfeiture (n.) Look up forfeiture at
mid-14c., "loss of property as punishment for a crime, debt, etc.," from Old French forfaiture "crime, transgression; penalty for committing a crime" (12c.), from forfait (see forfeit (n.)).
forfend (v.) Look up forfend at
also forefend, late 14c., "to protect; to prohibit; to avert, fend off, prevent," a hybrid from for- + fend "to ward off." Archaic, if not obsolete.
forgat Look up forgat at
obsolete past tense of forget.
forgave Look up forgave at
past tense of forgive (q.v.).
forge (n.) Look up forge at
late 14c., "a smithy," from Old French forge "forge, smithy" (12c.), earlier faverge, from Latin fabrica "workshop, smith's shop," hence also "a trade, an industry;" also "a skillful production, a crafty device," from faber (genitive fabri) "workman in hard materials, smith" (see fabric). As the heating apparatus itself (a furnace fitted with a bellows), from late 15c. Forge-water (1725), in which heated iron has been dipped, was used popularly as a medicine in 18c.
forge (v.2) Look up forge at
1769 (with an apparent isolated use from 1610s), "make way, move ahead," of unknown origin, perhaps an alteration of force (v.), but perhaps rather from forge (n.), via notion of steady hammering at something. Originally nautical, in reference to vessels.
forge (v.1) Look up forge at
early 14c., "to counterfeit" (a letter, document, etc.), from Old French forgier "to forge, work (metal); shape, fashion; build, construct; falsify" (12c., Modern French forger), from Latin fabricari "to frame, construct, build," from fabrica "workshop" (see forge (n.)). Meaning "to counterfeit" (a letter, document, or other writing) is from early 14c.; literal meaning "to form (something) by heating in a forge and hammering" is from late 14c. in English, also used in Middle English of the minting of coins, so that it once meant "issue good money" but came to mean "issue spurious (paper) money." Related: Forged; forging.
forger (n.) Look up forger at
late 14c. (early 14c. as a surname), "a maker, a smith," agent noun from forge (v.). Meaning "a counterfeiter, one who makes by false imitation" is from early 15c. In 15c. also "a maker of (coin) money." Another Middle English word for "a forger" was falsarie (mid-15c.).
forgery (n.) Look up forgery at
1570s, "a thing made fraudulently," from forge (v.) + -ery. Meaning "act of counterfeiting" is 1590s. The literal sense of the verb tended to go with forging (late 14c. as "act of working on a forge," 1858 as "piece of work made on a forge").
forget (v.) Look up forget at
Old English forgietan "lose the power of recalling to the mind; fail to remember; neglect inadvertently," from for-, used here probably with privative force, "away, amiss, opposite" + gietan "to grasp" (see get). To "un-get," hence "to lose" from the mind. A common Germanic construction (compare Old Saxon fargetan, Old Frisian forjeta, Dutch vergeten, Old High German firgezzan, German vergessen "to forget"). The physical sense would be "to lose (one's) grip on," but that is not recorded in any historical Germanic language. Figurative sense of "lose care for" is from late 13c. Related: Forgetting; forgot; forgotten.
forget-me-not (n.) Look up forget-me-not at
the flowering plant (Myosotis palustris), 1530s, translating Old French ne m'oubliez mye; in 15c. the flower was supposed to ensure that those wearing it should never be forgotten by their lovers. Similar loan-translations took the name into other languages: German Vergißmeinnicht, Swedish förgätmigej, Hungarian nefelejcs, Czech nezabudka.
forgetful (adj.) Look up forgetful at
late 14c., from forget + -ful. A curious formation. Used in the sense "causing forgetting" from 1550s, but almost exclusively in poetry (Milton, Tennyson, etc.). An older word in this sense was Middle English forgetel, from Old English forgitel "forgetful," from a formation similar to that in Dutch vergetel. Related: Forgetfully; forgetfulness.
forgettable (adj.) Look up forgettable at
1827, from forget + -able. First attested in a translation from German by Carlyle.
forgivable (adj.) Look up forgivable at
1540s, from forgive + -able. Related: Forgivably.
forgive (v.) Look up forgive at
Old English forgiefan "give, grant, allow; remit (a debt), pardon (an offense)," also "give up" and "give in marriage" (past tense forgeaf, past participle forgifen); from for-, here probably "completely," + giefan "give" (see give (v.)).

The sense of "to give up desire or power to punish" (late Old English) is from use of such a compound as a Germanic loan-translation of Vulgar Latin *perdonare (Old Saxon fargeban, Dutch vergeven, German vergeben "to forgive," Gothic fragiban "to grant;" and see pardon (n.)). Related: Forgave; forgiven; forgiving.
forgiveness (n.) Look up forgiveness at
Old English forgiefnes, forgifennys "pardon, forgiveness, indulgence," from past participle of forgifan (see forgive) + -ness. Contracted from *forgiven-ness. Middle English also had forgift (early 14c.).
forgiving (adj.) Look up forgiving at
"inclined to forgive," 1680s, from present participle of forgive. Related: Forgivingness.
forgo (v.) Look up forgo at
"refrain from," Old English forgan "abstain from, leave undone, neglect," also "go or pass over, go away," from for- "away" + gan "go" (see go (v.)). Often, but less properly, forego. Related: Forgoing; forgone.
forgotten (adj.) Look up forgotten at
early 15c., past participle adjective from forget.
fork (n.) Look up fork at
Old English forca, force "pitchfork, forked instrument, forked weapon," from a Germanic borrowing (Old Frisian forke, Dutch vork, Old Norse forkr, Danish fork) of Latin furca "pitchfork; fork used in cooking," a word of uncertain origin. Old English also had forcel "pitchfork." From c. 1200 as "forked stake or post" (as a gallows or prop).

Table forks are said to have been not used among the nobility in England until 15c. and not common until early 17c. The word is first attested in this sense in English in an inventory from 1430, probably from Old North French forque (Old French furche, Modern French fourche), from the Latin word. Of rivers, from 1753; of roads, from 1839. As a bicycle part from 1871. As a chess attack on two pieces simultaneously by one (usually a knight), it dates from 1650s. In old slang, forks "the two forefingers" is from 1812.
fork (v.) Look up fork at
early 14c., "to divide in branches, go separate ways," also "disagree, be inconsistent," from fork (n.). Transitive meaning "raise or pitch with a fork" is from 1812. Related: Forked; forking. The slang verb phrase fork (something) over is from 1839 (fork out) "give over" is from 1831). Forking (n.) in the forensic sense "disagreement among witnesses" is from c. 1400.
forked (adj.) Look up forked at
c. 1300, "branched or divided in two parts," past participle adjective from fork (v.). Of roads from 1520s; from 1550s as "pointing more than one way." In 16c.-17c. sometimes with a suggestion of "cuckold," on the notion of "horned." Forked tongue as a figure of duplicitous speech is from 1885, American English. Double tongue in the same sense is from 15c.
forkful (n.) Look up forkful at
1640s; see fork (n.) + -ful.
forklift (n.) Look up forklift at
also fork-lift, by 1953, short for fork-lift truck (1946), from fork (n.) + lift (n.).
forlorn (adj.) Look up forlorn at
mid-12c., forloren "disgraced, depraved," past participle of obsolete forlesan "be deprived of, lose, abandon," from Old English forleosan "to lose, abandon, let go; destroy, ruin," from for- "completely" + leosan "to lose" (see lose). In the Mercian hymns, Latin perditionis is glossed by Old English forlorenisse. OED's examples of forlese end in 17c., but the past participle persisted. Sense of "forsaken, abandoned" is 1530s; that of "wretched, miserable" first recorded 1580s.

A common Germanic compound (cognates: Old Saxon farilosan, Old Frisian urliasa, Middle Dutch verliesen, Dutch verliezen, Old High German virliosan, German verlieren, Gothic fraliusan "to lose").

In English now often in forlorn hope (1570s), which is a partial translation of Dutch verloren hoop, in which hoop means "troop, band," literally "heap," and the sense of the whole phrase is of a suicide mission. The phrase more often than not is used in English as if it meant "a faint hope, and the misuse has colored the meaning of forlorn. Related: Forlornly; forlornness.
form (n.) Look up form at
c. 1200, forme, fourme, "semblance, image, likeness," from Old French forme, fourme, "physical form, appearance; pleasing looks; shape, image; way, manner" (12c.), from Latin forma "form, contour, figure, shape; appearance, looks; a fine form, beauty; an outline, a model, pattern, design; sort, kind condition," a word of unknown origin. One theory holds that it is from or cognate with Greek morphe "form, beauty, outward appearance" (see Morpheus) via Etruscan [Klein].

From c. 1300 as "physical shape (of something), contour, outline," of a person, "shape of the body;" also "appearance, likeness;" also "the imprint of an object." From c. 1300 as "correct or appropriate way of doing something; established procedure; traditional usage; formal etiquette." Mid-14c. as "instrument for shaping; a mould;" late 14c. as "way in which something is done," also "pattern of a manufactured object." Used widely from late 14c. in theology and Platonic philosophy with senses "archetype of a thing or class; Platonic essence of a thing; the formative principle." From c. 1300 in law, "a legal agreement; terms of agreement," later "a legal document" (mid-14c.). Meaning "a document with blanks to be filled in" is from 1855. From 1590s as "systematic or orderly arrangement;" from 1610s as "mere ceremony." From 1550s as "a class or rank at school" (from sense "a fixed course of study," late 14c.). Form-fitting (adj.) in reference to clothing is from 1893.
form (v.) Look up form at
c. 1300, formen, fourmen, "create, give life to, give shape or structure to; make, build, construct, devise," from Old French fourmer "formulate, express; draft, create, shape, mold" (12c.) and directly from Latin formare "to shape, fashion, build," also figurative, from forma "form, contour, figure, shape" (see form (n.)). From late 14c. as "go to make up, be a constituent part of;" intransitive sense "take form, come into form" is from 1722. Related: Formed; forming.
formable (adj.) Look up formable at
late 14c., from form (v.) + -able, or from Late Latin formabilis.
formal (adj.) Look up formal at
late 14c., "pertaining to form or arrangement;" also, in philosophy and theology, "pertaining to the form or essence of a thing," from Old French formal, formel "formal, constituent" (13c.) and directly from Latin formalis, from forma "a form, figure, shape" (see form (n.)). From early 15c. as "in due or proper form, according to recognized form," As a noun, c. 1600 (plural) "things that are formal;" as a short way to say formal dance, recorded by 1906 among U.S. college students.
formaldehyde (n.) Look up formaldehyde at
pungent gas formed by oxidation of methyl alcohol, 1869, a contraction of formic aldehyde; see formic + aldehyde. Discovered in 1863 by German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818-1892).
formalism (n.) Look up formalism at
1840, "strict adherence to prescribed forms," from formal + -ism. Used over the years in philosophy, theology, literature, and art in various senses suggesting detachment of form from content, or spirituality, or meaning; or belief in the sufficiency of formal logic. Related: Formalist.
formalistic (adj.) Look up formalistic at
1846; see formalism + -istic.
formality (n.) Look up formality at
1530s, "agreement as to form," from formal + -ity or else from Middle French formalité (15c.) or Latin formitalitatem. Sense of "conformity to established rule" is from 1590s; meaning "something done for the sake of form" is from 1640s. Related: Formalities.
formalize (v.) Look up formalize at
1590s, "give an appearance of being to," from formal + -ize. Meaning reduce to form" is from 1640s; sense of "render formal" is from 1855. Related: Formalized; formalizing.
formally (adv.) Look up formally at
late 14c., "in good form, in an orderly manner," also "by kind," from formal + -ly (2). Meaning "in prescribed or customary form" is from 1560s.
format (n.) Look up format at
1840, "shape and size" (of a book), via French format (18c.), ultimately from Modern Latin liber formatus "a book formed" in a certain shape and size, from past participle of formare "to form," from forma "form, shape" (see form (n.)). Extended to computers by 1955.
format (v.) Look up format at
"arrange into a format," 1964, in reference to electronic computing, from format (n.). Related: Formatted; formatting.
formation (n.) Look up formation at
late 14c., "vital force in plants and animals;" early 15c., "act of creating or making," from Old French formacion "formation, fashioning, creation" (12c.) or directly from Latin formationem (nominative formatio) "a forming, shaping," noun of action or condition from past participle stem of formare "to form," from forma "form, shape" (see form (n.)). Meaning that which is formed or created" is from 1640s. In geology, "group of rocks having a similar origin or character," 1815. Related: Formational.
formative (adj.) Look up formative at
late 15c., from Middle French formatif, from Latin format-, past participle stem of formare "to form," from forma "form, shape" (see form (n.)). As a noun, in grammar, from 1816.
former (adj.) Look up former at
"earlier in time," mid-12c., comparative of forme "first, earliest in time or order," from Old English forma "first," from Proto-Germanic *fruma-, *furma-, from PIE *pre-mo-, suffixed (superlative) form of root *per- (1) "forward, through; before; first" (see per). Probably patterned on formest (see foremost); it is an unusual case of a comparative formed from a superlative (the Old English -m is a superlative suffix). As "first of two," 1580s.
former (n.) Look up former at
"one who gives form," mid-14c., agent noun from form (v.). The Latin agent noun was formator.
formerly (adv.) Look up formerly at
"in times past," 1580s, from former (adj.) + -ly (2). A Middle English word for this was andersith "formerly, at former times" (early 14c.).
formic (adj.) Look up formic at
1791 (in formic acid), literally "from ants," coined from Latin formica "ant" (see Formica (n.2)). The acid first was obtained in a fairly pure form in 1749 by German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf (1709-1782), who prepared it by distilling red ants. It also is found in nettles and bee stings.
Formica (1) Look up Formica at
proprietary name (1922) of a product manufactured originally by Formica Insulation Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. (founded 1913). According to the company, the material (originally marketed as an industrial insulator) was so called because it could be used for mica, i.e., in place of mica, a more expensive natural insulator. Primarily used in consumer goods since c. 1945.
Formica (2) Look up Formica at
ant genus, 1843, from Latin formica "an ant," dissimilated from PIE *morwi- "ant" (source also of Sanskrit vamrah "ant," Greek myrmex, Old Church Slavonic mraviji, Old Irish moirb, Old Norse maurr, Welsh myrion; and compare second element in pismire).
formicant (adj.) Look up formicant at
"crawling like an ant," 1707, from Latin formicantem (nominative formicans), present participle of formicare (see formication).
formicary (n.) Look up formicary at
"ant nest," 1816, from Medieval Latin formicarium, from Latin formica "ant" (see Formica (n.2)).
formication (n.) Look up formication at
crawling sensation as of ants on the skin, 1707, from Latin formicationem (nominative formicatio), noun of action from formicare "to crawl like ants," from formica "ant" (see Formica (n.2)).