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verb in·hib·it \in-ˈhi-bət\

Simple Definition of inhibit

  • : to keep (someone) from doing what he or she wants to do

  • : to prevent or slow down the activity or occurrence of (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of inhibit

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to prohibit from doing something

  3. 2 a :  to hold in check :  restrain b :  to discourage from free or spontaneous activity especially through the operation of inner psychological or external social constraints

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to cause inhibition

inhibitive play \-bə-tiv\ adjective
inhibitory play \-bə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

Examples of inhibit in a sentence

  1. You shouldn't allow fear of failure to inhibit you.

  2. He was inhibited by modesty.

  3. Fear can inhibit people from expressing their opinions.

  4. drugs that are used to inhibit infection

  5. Strict laws are inhibiting economic growth.

Origin of inhibit

Middle English, from Latin inhibitus, past participle of inhibēre, from in- 2in- + habēre to have — more at habit

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of inhibit

forbid, prohibit, interdict, inhibit mean to debar one from doing something or to order that something not be done. forbid implies that the order is from one in authority and that obedience is expected <smoking is forbidden in the building>. prohibit suggests the issuing of laws, statutes, or regulations <prohibited the sale of liquor>. interdict implies prohibition by civil or ecclesiastical authority usually for a given time or a declared purpose <practices interdicted by the church>. inhibit implies restraints or restrictions that amount to prohibitions, not only by authority but also by the exigencies of the time or situation <conditions inhibiting the growth of free trade>.

Rhymes with inhibit

INHIBIT Defined for Kids


verb in·hib·it \in-ˈhi-bət\

Definition of inhibit for Students


  1. :  to prevent or hold back from doing something <Shyness inhibited her in making new friends.>

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb in·hib·it \in-ˈhib-ət\

Medical Definition of inhibit

  1. 1a:  to restrain from free or spontaneous activity especially through the operation of inner psychological or external social constraints <an inhibited person>b:  to check or restrain the force or vitality of <inhibit aggressive tendencies>

  2. 2a:  to reduce or suppress the activity of <a presynaptic neuron can not only excite a postsynaptic neuron but can also inhibit it—H. W. Kendler>b:  to retard or prevent the formation ofc:  to retard, interfere with, or prevent (a process or reaction) <inhibit ovulation>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up inhibit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

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