en·​join in-ˈjȯin How to pronounce enjoin (audio)
enjoined; enjoining; enjoins

transitive verb

: to direct or impose by authoritative order or with urgent admonition
enjoined us to be careful
: forbid, prohibit
was enjoined by conscience from telling a lie
: to prohibit by a judicial order : put an injunction on
a book had been enjoined prior to publicationDavid Margolick

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What do enjoin and junta have in common?

Enjoin has the Latin verb jungere, meaning "to join," at its root, but the kind of joining expressed by enjoin is quite particular: it is about linking someone to an action or activity by either requiring or prohibiting it. When it's the former at hand—that is, when enjoin is used to mean "to direct or impose by authoritative order or with urgent admonition"—the preposition to is typically employed, as in "they enjoined us to secrecy." When prohibition is involved, from is common, as in "signs enjoin attendees from photographing the event." In legal contexts, enjoining involves prohibition by judicial order, through means of an injunction, as in "the judge enjoined them from selling the contract."

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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

Examples of enjoin in a Sentence

He was enjoined by his conscience from telling a lie. The judge enjoined them from selling the property.
Recent Examples on the Web And as the court found when enjoining Montana’s TikTok ban, blocking such content can pose real harm to users, particularly those who rely on the platform to conduct business. Daniel Lyons, TIME, 3 Apr. 2024 Court orders elsewhere have permanently enjoined parental involvement laws in five other states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a policy organization focused on reproductive rights. Detroit Free Press, 28 Mar. 2024 The Holy Koran exhibits moral clarity in enjoining zakat or philanthropy and worship of God alone unsoiled by idolatry. Armstrong Williams, Baltimore Sun, 9 Feb. 2024 In November, Abel filed a motion to dismiss the case, noting that the government had still not opposed the motion to enjoin spending. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 31 Jan. 2024 The company agrees to be permanently enjoined from working on Yuzu, hosting Yuzu, distributing Yuzu’s code or features, hosting websites and social media that promote Yuzu, or doing anything else that circumvents Nintendo’s copyright protection. Sean Hollister, The Verge, 4 Mar. 2024 The suit raised a number of complex issues of sovereign immunity, federal preemption of state law, the scope of the Border Patrol’s powers, and the power of courts to enjoin federal immigration-enforcement actions. The Editors, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 The law was ultimately enjoined by a federal judge as a violation of the 1st and 14th amendments. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2024 The court lacks jurisdiction to enjoin Hialeah’s legislative process. Verónica Egui Brito, Miami Herald, 24 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'enjoin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of enjoin was in the 13th century


Dictionary Entries Near enjoin

Cite this Entry

“Enjoin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enjoin. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


en·​join in-ˈjȯin How to pronounce enjoin (audio)
: to direct or demand (an action) by authoritative order (as from a court of law)

Legal Definition


transitive verb
en·​join in-ˈjȯin How to pronounce enjoin (audio)
: to prohibit by judicial order : issue an injunction against
a three-judge district court had enjoined the plansW. J. Brennan, Jr.
enjoinable adjective

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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