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

Practice and a bit of bravery; letting go of all inhibition is the key. Los Angeles Times, "Five steps to becoming a read out-loud book hero," 16 Aug. 2019 Spa wisdom Check your inhibitions at the door before entering a local hammam, Salmi advises. Starlight Williams, National Geographic, "Finding the perfect soak in Marrakech," 7 Aug. 2019 People still tell stories of inhibitions cast aside and new lovers taken. The Economist, "The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future," 27 June 2019 Especially with DeMarcus Cousins on the floor, the Raptors have been able to run simple half-court sets without inhibition. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: The Warriors have lost their identity, and probably the NBA Finals, too," 8 June 2019 Barty began hitting the ball without inhibition and toggled between too passive and too aggressive. Jon Wertheim,, "Nadal as Relentless As Ever in Dominant Roland Garros Win Over Federer," 7 June 2019 Combing massages all of the acupoints of the head, which regulates excitement and inhibition in of the cerebral cortex. Zoe Weiner, Allure, "Jade and Rose Quartz Combs Are The Latest Trend in Hair Care," 27 July 2018 Unavailable men can want without inhibition, knowing that sooner or later reality will intervene. Shelly Oria, Longreads, "How to Be Single," 2 July 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

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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Statistics for inhibition

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for inhibition

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

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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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Comments on inhibition

What made you want to look up inhibition? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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