in·​hab·​it | \ in-ˈha-bət How to pronounce inhabit (audio) \
inhabited; inhabiting; inhabits

Definition of inhabit

transitive verb

1 : to occupy as a place of settled residence or habitat : live in inhabit a small house
2 : to be present in or occupy in any manner or form the human beings who inhabit this tale— Al Newman

intransitive verb

archaic : to have residence in a place : dwell

Other Words from inhabit

inhabitable \ in-​ˈha-​bə-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce inhabit (audio) \ adjective
inhabiter noun

Examples of inhabit in a Sentence

Several hundred species of birds inhabit the island. This part of the country is inhabited by native tribes. There is a romantic quality that inhabits all her paintings. The novel is inhabited by a cast of eccentric characters.
Recent Examples on the Web The depressions there gather water seasonally, and shrimp inhabit these pools from spring to fall when there’s enough water. AccessAtlanta, 17 June 2022 Made mostly of pH-neutral cement, stainless steel, and basalt, the sculpture provides an artificial reef that encourages coral growth and provides a novel place for marine life to colonize and inhabit while steering tourists away from natural reefs. Ross Kenneth Urken, Travel + Leisure, 8 June 2022 Suffice it to say that the overwhelmingly white professional-class women who don these costumes don’t inhabit a country on the verge of becoming a theocracy or even a patriarchy, but an oligarchy—the harms of which they’ll be relatively spared from. Natalie Shure, The New Republic, 5 May 2022 Shame, as Flanagan sometimes appears to forget, is an effective weapon only when it is brandished against those who already inhabit a shared ethical universe. Becca Rothfeld, The New Yorker, 21 Mar. 2022 Avedon awakens people to the fact that worlds need not be engaged as the builders intended, that they’re largely constructed by those who inhabit them. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 8 June 2022 Thomas coined the term in her book’s title through her work as activist for both the planet and the humans who inhabit it. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb. 2022 And the longer a brine can remain unfrozen, the more stability the mixture provides to whatever life-forms might decide to inhabit it. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 24 Nov. 2021 How did that help your understanding of the character and your ability to inhabit him? Noah Hurowitz, Rolling Stone, 3 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of inhabit

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for inhabit

Middle English enhabiten, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French inhabiter, enhabiter, from Latin inhabitare, from in- + habitare to dwell, frequentative of habēre to have — more at give

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The first known use of inhabit was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inhabit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for inhabit


in·​hab·​it | \ in-ˈha-bət How to pronounce inhabit (audio) \
inhabited; inhabiting

Kids Definition of inhabit

: to live or dwell in


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