I am interested in etymology of word "forgive". It is interesting that english word "forgive", german word "vergeben" and french word "pardonner" share the same pattern: for + give ver + geben par + donner I mean participle + word like "give". Why is that so?

  • 1
    Forgive: - from for-, here probably "completely," + giefan "give" - 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;". etymonline.com/index.php?term=forgive
    – user66974
    Aug 21 '16 at 20:33

The root is the Latin "perdonare" (to give completely), which was literally adopted by Old German and later by Old English where ""per" became "for" with the meaning of completely:

  • The root of “forgive” is the Latin word “perdonare,” meaning “to give completely, without reservation.” (That “perdonare” is also the source of our English “pardon.”)

  • When the Latin “perdonare” was adopted into the Germanic ancestor of English, it was translated piece-by-piece, making the result what linguists call a “calque” (from the French “calquer,” to trace or copy) a literal transliteration. “Per” was replaced by “for,” a prefix that in this case means “thoroughly,” and “donare” with “giefan” (“to give”).

  • The result, “forgiefan,” appeared in Old English meaning “to give up, allow” as well as “to give in marriage.” In modern English, “forgive” has also taken on the meanings of “to pardon for an offense,” “renounce anger at” (“I forgive you for feeding bean tacos to my dog “) and “to abandon a claim on” (as in “forgive a debt”).

(The Word Detective)

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