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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Mountains that keep out invaders may inhibit trade. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 7 Jan. 2022 Hierarchy, bureaucracy, silos and rigid processes inhibit the speed, creativity, collaboration, and innovation organizations will need in the increasingly digitalized world of the future. Deborah Lovich, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Civil rights laws and First Amendment concerns could inhibit schools' ability to pursue exclusive religious or cultural missions. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 14 July 2021 But what’s something that a virtual world might be missing that, in your thinking, could inhibit the pursuit of a meaningful life? David Marchese, New York Times, 10 Dec. 2021 For seniors specifically, clutter can inhibit the ability to move around the house while escaping a house fire safely. oregonlive, 2 Nov. 2021 What an extraordinary statement that is, given the ongoing efforts by Granholm and the rest of the Biden administration to inhibit the ability of the domestic oil and gas industry to get its business done in this country. David Blackmon, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 But in Alzheimer’s the loss is severe, plus it’s coupled with the loss of thinking skills, which ultimately inhibit the ability to perform everyday tasks that used to be second nature throughout life. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 21 Oct. 2021 Justice Yasmín Esquivel Mossa argued that the state’s penal code didn’t accomplish its intended goal, which was to inhibit abortions. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 28 Oct. 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for inhibit

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near inhibit

inhibin

inhibit

inhibition

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Statistics for inhibit

Last Updated

17 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Inhibit.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inhibit. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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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

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