Some compound words don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window. Needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding. Put simply, at a broad level our expectations are different from those of our forebears.

But the bear in forebear stems from the verb be plus the suffix -er, that is, forebears are really fore-be-ers — they existed (“to be”) before us. In contrast, the bear in forbear is from the word meaning “to carry.” Imagine then his dismay at an inaugural address that suffered from “moth-eaten what is a weenus metaphors,” “faux-antique dialect,” and jarring semantic errors like Obama’s use of the word forbearers when he meant forebears. To forbearis to refrain, to hold back, or to tolerate in the face of provocation. Its past tense is forbore, and its past participle is forborne.

It’s usually pronounced for-BEAR.Forebear, meanwhile, is a noun referring to a person from whom one is descended—i.e., an ancestor. You might have thought that forebear means to stop yourself from doing something. The “e” makes all of the difference here. Whereas the first is a noun, the second is a verb. Just remember that if you see fore like in before, it’s the people who came before you.

I hope to entertain you and to help you with problems or just questions you might have with spelling and usage. I go beyond just stating what is right and what is wrong, and provide some history or some tips to help you remember. So with the e , the extra -er is simply redundant — like engineerer (a person who engineers?) or pioneerer (a person who pioneers?).

The league said it had never engaged in any criminal activity because it was aware that this would undermine the freedom its “forbearers” had fought for with their lives. Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word forbearers. Find similar words to forebearer using the buttons below. An example of a forebearer is your great grandfather. Add forebear to one of your lists below, or create a new one. These examples remind us to forebear from generalizations until a more complete overview of topographical variations is achieved.