in·​hi·​bi·​tion | \ ˌin-hə-ˈbi-shən How to pronounce inhibition (audio) , ˌi-nə- \

Definition of inhibition

1 : an inner impediment to free activity, expression, or functioning: such as
a : a mental process imposing restraint upon behavior or another mental process (such as a desire)
b : a restraining of the function of a bodily organ or an agent (such as an enzyme)
2a : the act of inhibiting : the state of being inhibited
b : something that forbids, debars, or restricts

Examples of inhibition in a Sentence

She laughed loudly and without inhibition. an innate inhibition made it difficult for him to tell his girlfriend what he was really feeling
Recent Examples on the Web Due to its critical role in host defense, the inhibition of IL-1 cytokines risks greater and more severe infection. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 1 July 2022 At the same time, the part of the brain responsible for self-inhibition and control, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, became dormant. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 9 June 2022 And of course, the Kardashian family has created a multibillion-dollar empire out of cunning, chutzpah, a complete lack of inhibition and a willingness to confect drama for ratings., 18 May 2022 Everyone clamored for a chance to sing, and I was fascinated by their lack of inhibition. San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Apr. 2022 This approach teams up nicely with that thing that alcohol does, which is reduce my judgment and inhibition. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Mar. 2022 Thanks to a bolt of inspiration or the happy inhibition that comes with tippling, or maybe both, a new idea took shape. Robin Catalano, Robb Report, 15 Feb. 2022 Assays revealed that the presence of SARS-CoV-2 NSP12 reduced levels of signaling proteins downstream of IRF3 (interferon regulatory factor 3), indicating that IRF3 was likely where inhibition took place. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2022 Her passion could be countered by inhibition, her tenacity by trepidation. Blair Mcclendon, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of inhibition

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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

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Last Updated

17 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inhibition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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in·​hi·​bi·​tion | \ ˌin-(h)ə-ˈbish-ən How to pronounce inhibition (audio) \

Medical Definition of inhibition

: the act or an instance of inhibiting or the state of being inhibited: as
a(1) : a stopping or checking of a bodily action : a restraining of the function of an organ or an agent (as a digestive fluid or enzyme) inhibition of the heartbeat by stimulation of the vagus nerve inhibition of plantar reflexes
(2) : interference with or retardation or prevention of a process or activity inhibition of bacterial growth
b(1) : a desirable restraint or check upon the free or spontaneous instincts or impulses of an individual guided or directed by the social and cultural forces of the environment the self-control so developed is called inhibition— C. W. Russell
(2) : a neurotic restraint upon a normal or beneficial impulse or activity caused by psychological inner conflicts or by sociocultural forces of the environment other outspoken neurotic manifestations are general inhibitions such as inability to think, to concentrate— Muriel Ivimey inhibitions, phobias, compulsions, and other neurotic patternsPsychological Abstracts

More from Merriam-Webster on inhibition

Nglish: Translation of inhibition for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inhibition for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about inhibition


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