in·hi·bi·tion | \ ˌin-hə-ˈbi-shən , ˌi-nə- \

Definition of inhibition 

1a : the act of inhibiting : the state of being inhibited

b : something that forbids, debars, or restricts

2 : 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)

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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

The sweet fragrance of love's favorite flower fills the air as inhibitions disappear. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Afrojack Drops 'Bed Of Roses' Featuring Stanaj for Valentine's Day: Listen," 14 Feb. 2018 Will inhibitions start to creep in and diminish the improvisatory nature of street life here, putting a hitch in the strut of Mardi Gras revelers and second-line paraders? Richard Fausset, New York Times, "Will 1,500 Street Cameras Be a Wet Blanket in New Orleans?," 30 Jan. 2018 Southgate has done a hell of a job changing the perception of England, incubating an exciting young side by helping them to play, for the most, without the suffocating inhibitions of fear and pressure., "Panic Stations: We Need to Talk About England's Knockout Record Before It Comes Home on July 15," 2 July 2018 However, inhibition of p53 leaves the cell transiently vulnerable to the introduction of chromosomal rearrangements and other tumorigenic mutations. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Archived chat: last week in CRISPR — cancer, patents, and a dip in the market," 19 June 2018 Before entering the space, the participants leave their shoes at the door, along with their inhibitions and self-consciousness. Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times, "A Philadelphia Theater Heading, and Sweating, in a New Direction," 3 Jan. 2018 His proceeding tenure at PSG, while statistically impressive and silverware laden, showed his inhibitions as a top level tactician., "Why Laurent Blanc is the Worst Possible Managerial Choice for Chelsea in 2018," 8 June 2018 These include drugs to remove inhibitions to the immune response, and various cellular therapies that directly attack cancer. Bradley J. Fikes,, "Scripps Research, AbbVie join in large cancer therapy alliance," 25 June 2018 By removing inhibitions and consequences, the park holds a mirror up to our faces, revealing truths that are otherwise occluded by society's programming. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 8: The Great Ghost Nation Mystery," 11 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of inhibition

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

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Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for inhibition

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

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English Language Learners Definition of inhibition

: a nervous feeling that prevents you from expressing your thoughts, emotions, or desires

: the act of preventing or slowing the activity or occurrence of something


in·hi·bi·tion | \ ˌin-(h)ə-ˈbish-ən \

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

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the setting in which something occurs

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