inhibit

verb
in·​hib·​it | \ in-ˈhi-bət How to pronounce inhibit (audio) \
inhibited; inhibiting; inhibits

Essential Meaning of inhibit

1 : to keep (someone) from doing what he or she wants to do You shouldn't allow fear of failure to inhibit you. He was inhibited by modesty. Fear can inhibit people from expressing their opinions.
2 : to prevent or slow down the activity or occurrence of (something) drugs that are used to inhibit infection Strict laws are inhibiting economic growth.

Full Definition of inhibit

transitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from inhibit

inhibitive \ in-​ˈhi-​bə-​tiv How to pronounce inhibit (audio) \ adjective
inhibitory \ in-​ˈhi-​bə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce inhibit (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of inhibit in a Sentence

You shouldn't allow fear of failure to inhibit you. He was inhibited by modesty. Fear can inhibit people from expressing their opinions. drugs that are used to inhibit infection Strict laws are inhibiting economic growth.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Experts say it’s inconclusive whether masks inhibit child development. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Sep. 2021 Part of that system could migrate into the southern Gulf of Mexico over the weekend, but the hurricane center said strong upper-level winds should inhibit its development. Leigh Morgan, al, 2 Sep. 2021 But all of them can bind selectively to a target, such as a messenger RNA transcript, to either promote or inhibit its translation into protein. Quanta Magazine, 1 Sep. 2021 Mask opponents say masks inhibit kids from socializing and restrict breathing. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, 29 Aug. 2021 Across Hamilton County, parents have attended school board meetings to advocate for making masks optional, citing studies about the risks of COVID, wanting to leave health decisions up to parents and claiming masks inhibit learning. Mj Slaby, The Indianapolis Star, 30 July 2021 Topography also can promote or inhibit fire behavior. Washington Post, 28 July 2021 Alcohol and many kinds of drugs act as natural depressants on your nervous system and can inhibit some of the bodily functions that naturally occur during one of the sleep cycles discussed above. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 25 July 2021 Instead, the researchers found many more genes known to inhibit it, suggesting lobsters may rely on other strategies to curb tumor growth. R.m. Davis, Science | AAAS, 23 June 2021

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

See More

First Known Use of inhibit

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for inhibit

Middle English, from Latin inhibitus, past participle of inhibēre, from in- in- entry 2 + habēre to have — more at habit entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About inhibit

Time Traveler for inhibit

Time Traveler

The first known use of inhibit was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near inhibit

inhibin

inhibit

inhibition

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for inhibit

Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inhibit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inhibit. Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inhibit

inhibit

verb
in·​hib·​it | \ in-ˈhi-bət How to pronounce inhibit (audio) \
inhibited; inhibiting

Kids Definition of inhibit

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

inhibit

transitive verb
in·​hib·​it | \ in-ˈhib-ət How to pronounce inhibit (audio) \

Medical Definition of inhibit

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
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 of
c : to retard, interfere with, or prevent (a process or reaction) inhibit ovulation

More from Merriam-Webster on inhibit

Nglish: Translation of inhibit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inhibit for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!