In Spanish these translate the same way and has been discussed (albeit not conclusively in this thread). I am convinced there is a difference. My hunch is that if you ban something that means you no longer allow something that used to be permitted. Here are some examples: Smoking has been banned on trains and planes and increasingly is being banned in all but private buildings. During prohibition, making, importing, selling and drinking alchol were all banned. Lighting barbecues is banned during droughts to prevent wildfires Forbid to me implies it isn't permitted and never has been. Do you share this way of understanding the difference between the two? I'm all ears.