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

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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 In subsequent dose-response experiments, even the lowest dose of diABZI resulted in about 1000-fold inhibition. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 3 June 2021 Both of my parents inhibited me in some vital way but also gave me this gift and the tools to save myself from that inhibition. E. Alex Jung, Vulture, 12 May 2021 Neuroscience studies show that when our brains are in self-criticism mode, the regions and systems of emotions, self-referential memories, error monitoring, punishment and behavioral inhibition are activated. Shefali Raina, Forbes, 6 May 2021 The yeast with the synthetic code thrived, showing no inhibition in growth, size, shape or ability to tolerate normal yeast conditions. David Biello, Scientific American, 27 Mar. 2014 These stories also have another commonality in how, at least anecdotally, there's been a dramatic loss of inhibition. Mike Freeman, USA TODAY, 13 Mar. 2021 Vote counting was proceeding without major inhibition. New York Times, 24 Jan. 2021 In rigor mortis the inhibition of ATP, the basic unit of energy within a cell, triggers a release of calcium into the muscles. Christopher Crockett, Scientific American, 2 Aug. 2013 Yet after negative headlines and posts on Twitter and other platforms appeared about studies investigating IL-6 receptor inhibition as monotherapy, providers lost interest in this approach. Paul Monach, STAT, 12 Feb. 2021

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 2a

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Time Traveler for inhibition

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

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Statistics for inhibition

Last Updated

23 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inhibition.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for inhibition



English Language Learners Definition of inhibition

: a nervous feeling that prevents you from expressing your thoughts, emotions, or desires
technical : the act of preventing or slowing the activity or occurrence of something


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


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