Meaning of forfend in English:


Pronunciation /fɔːˈfɛnd/


[with object]
  • 1 archaic Avert or prevent (something evil or unpleasant)

    ‘‘The fiend forfend’ said the grim Earl’
    • ‘This forfends what one may call the natural development of the natural man so overlaid with social man.’
    • ‘Brenda forfended this possibility by isolating groups of sculptures inside a designated pathway: they stood aloof from touch save by imagination.’
    • ‘Thus a tradition died, and thus the Masters and Wardens of today rejoice in a happy immunity, all unknowing of the danger their predecessors forfended.’
    • ‘The reinforcement with the additional U-shaped flexible elongated metal folder improves the structure of conventional end hook in enhancing considerably the strength to withstand the stress of impact, forfending the usual disadvantage of fracture or rupture of the tape and rivet failure.’
    • ‘She shows how they too forfended Moscow's revolution while they could, and what became of those exiled to Kazakhstan.’
  • 2

    (also forefend)
    US Protect (something) by precautionary measures.

    ‘the sacrifice of Mississippi was forfended against even the treason of Wilkinson’
    • ‘Deliberation is worth gold and stocks, and it forefends against sorrow.’
    • ‘The appellant, while admitting that the people may protect themselves against abuses of the freedom of speech safeguarded by the Fourteenth Amendment by prohibiting incitement to violence and crime insists that legislative regulation may not go beyond measures forefending against ‘clear and present danger’ of the use of force against the state.’


    Heaven forfend
    archaic, humorous
    • Used to express dismay or horror at the thought of something happening.

      ‘Heaven forfend I should wound her susceptibilities’
      • ‘And if, Heaven forfend, these disasters do occur, any Democratic candidate could win next year.’
      • ‘You remind me of my grandmother, who almost never said anything serious (Heaven forfend) but once, when I was a student, she wrote me a letter full of wisdom, which I have kept.’
      • ‘You are at the whim of someone else's emotions as they ‘improvise’ but never drawn into it, or even invited in, unless there's a bit with a motif or, God forfend, a tune.’
      • ‘If it, God forefend, were put in the hands of the Ministry of Health like the NHS our guess is that it would soon come to pieces.’
      • ‘Some experts even think that our planet's very life support systems are jeopardized by these problems, Heaven forfend.’
      • ‘For a brief time, the film's success will encourage studios to shop around for cheaper, newer, or even, God forefend, Japanese talent.’
      • ‘The present policy of only having one signatory should be amended to include two signatories in case of the unavailability (such as, God forefend, the sudden and early demise) of the treasurer.’
      • ‘If you lose some or, God forefend, all your property somewhere in London, try to remain calm and think of the statistics about how often property is not lost all, or frequently recovered.’
      • ‘I've got the equipment ready, the oil is heated, and all I need to do is add some nouns, verbs, adjectives and (God forefend) adverbs and I should be cooking.’