for·go also fore·go (fôr-gō)
tr.v. for·went (-wĕnt), for·gone (-gôn, -gŏn), for·go·ing, for·goes
To abstain from; relinquish: unwilling to forgo dessert.
[Middle English forgon, from Old English forgān, go away, forgo : for-, for- + gān, to go; see ghē- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The verb forgo, meaning "to abstain from, do without," has forego as an acceptable variant. Thus, one can forgo or forego dessert, though the spelling without the e is far more common and is preferred in most dictionaries. Forego also exists as a separate word meaning "to go before, either in place or time," as in The essential points have been laid out in the foregoing pages. The two words have historically been spelled differently because they incorporate different prefixes: The fore- of forego is the same prefix (meaning "in front, ahead, before") found in forefather, forehead, and foreword, while the for- of forgo is akin to the for- in forget, forlorn, and forsake and usually denotes loss or removal.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.