Anything that's forbidding is a little menacing, daunting, or even frightening. It's hard enough starting at a new school, much less one in a huge, grim, forbidding building.

Things that loom high above you, dark and cold, are often described with this adjective. Think of the forbidding trees lining a spooky path at night, or your stern, forbidding math teacher, silently frowning down at the class with his arms crossed. Forbidding comes from forbid, "refuse to allow," and its Old English root meaning "command against."

Definitions of forbidding
  1. noun
    an official prohibition or edict against something
    synonyms: ban, banning, forbiddance
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    test ban
    a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons that is mutually agreed to by countries that possess nuclear weapons
    type of:
    refusal to approve or assent to
  2. adjective
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    forbidding thunderclouds”
    synonyms: baleful, menacing, minacious, minatory, ominous, sinister, threatening
    frightening because of an awareness of danger
  3. adjective
    harshly uninviting or formidable in manner or appearance
    “a forbidding scowl”
    synonyms: dour, grim
    disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings
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