verb en·join \ in-ˈjȯin , en- \
|Updated on: 19 Jul 2018

Definition of enjoin

enjoined; enjoining; enjoins
1 : to direct or impose by authoritative order or with urgent admonition
  • enjoined us to be careful
2 a : forbid, prohibit
  • was enjoined by conscience from telling a lie
b : to prohibit by a judicial order : put an injunction on
  • a book had been enjoined prior to publication
  • —David Margolick

enjoin was our Word of the Day on 04/05/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of enjoin in a Sentence

  1. He was enjoined by his conscience from telling a lie.

  2. The judge enjoined them from selling the property.

Recent Examples of enjoin from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enjoin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

What do enjoin and junta Have in Common?

Which of these words do you think has the same root as enjoin? a. entelechy b. joy c. junta d. purloin It might help if we tell you that enjoin derives ultimately from the verb jungere, which means "to join." Jungere is behind a number of English words, including join, conjoin, disjoin, and junction. Are you ready for your answer? The correct choice is junta, a term that entered English by way of Spanish. A junta is a committee that controls a government, especially after a revolutionary seizure of power - in other words, a group of persons joined together for a specific purpose.

Origin and Etymology of enjoin

Middle English, from Anglo-French enjoindre, from Latin injungere, from in- + jungere to join — more at yoke

Synonym Discussion of enjoin

command, order, bid, enjoin, direct, instruct, charge mean to issue orders. command and order imply authority and usually some degree of formality and impersonality. command stresses official exercise of authority.
    • a general commanding troops
order may suggest peremptory or arbitrary exercise.
    • ordered his employees about like slaves
bid suggests giving orders peremptorily (as to children or servants).
    • she bade him be seated
enjoin implies giving an order or direction authoritatively and urgently and often with admonition or solicitude.
    • a sign enjoining patrons to be quiet
direct and instruct both connote expectation of obedience and usually concern specific points of procedure or method, instruct sometimes implying greater explicitness or formality.
    • directed her assistant to hold all calls
    • the judge instructed the jury to ignore the remark
charge adds to enjoin an implication of imposing as a duty or responsibility.
    • charged by the President with a secret mission

ENJOIN Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of enjoin for English Language Learners

  • : to direct or order (someone) to do something

  • : to prevent (someone) from doing something; especially : to give a legal order preventing (someone) from doing something

Law Dictionary


transitive verb en·join \ in-ˈjȯin \

legal Definition of enjoin

: to prohibit by judicial order : issue an injunction against
  • a three-judge district court had enjoined the plans
  • —W. J. Brennan, Jr.



Origin and Etymology of enjoin

Anglo-French enjoindre to impose, constrain, from Old French, from Latin injungere to attach, impose, from in- on + jungere to join

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