in·​junc·​tion in-ˈjəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce injunction (audio)
: a writ granted by a court of equity whereby one is required to do or to refrain from doing a specified act
: the act or an instance of enjoining : order, admonition
injunctive adjective

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Injunction, injunction, what’s your function? When it first joined the English language in the 1400s, injunction referred to an authoritative command, and in the following century it developed a legal second sense applying specifically to a court order. Both of these meanings are still in use. Injunction ultimately comes from the Latin verb injungere (“to enjoin,” i.e., to issue an authoritative command or order), which in turn is based on jungere, meaning “to join”: it is joined as a jungere descendant by several words including junction, conjunction, enjoin, and join.

Examples of injunction in a Sentence

The group has obtained an injunction to prevent the demolition of the building. in the cult there were injunctions for and against everything, as nothing was a matter of personal choice
Recent Examples on the Web The lawsuit asks the court to enter a permanent injunction requiring IU Health to, among other things, update or create rules to safeguard patient information and prohibit its staff from disclosing sensitive patient information without proper patient approval. Ben Brasch, Washington Post, 18 Sep. 2023 The lower court had denied Junior Sports’ motion for a preliminary injunction, finding the law regulated only commercial speech. oregonlive, 13 Sep. 2023 Lower court judges had denied gun groups preliminary injunctions in each. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 2023 Urias is slated to hold a hearing on motions for a preliminary injunction against the executive order on Oct. 3. Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, 13 Sep. 2023 The decision was then appealed by the state, putting the injunction on hold for now. Nadine El-Bawab, ABC News, 12 Sep. 2023 The judges’ decision modifies a lower court’s injunction that had affected a wide range of government departments and agencies. Cat Zakrzewski, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Sep. 2023 The court limited the scope of a preliminary injunction, which prohibited officials from numerous agencies from having practically any contact with the social media companies. Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, 9 Sep. 2023 The Department of Justice had sought that injunction, contending the buoys impede navigation, endanger migrants, cause friction in U.S.-Mexico relations and violate federal law and treaties with Mexico. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, 8 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'injunction.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English injunccion, from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French enjunxion, from Late Latin injunction-, injunctio, from Latin injungere to enjoin — more at enjoin

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of injunction was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near injunction

Cite this Entry

“Injunction.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​junc·​tion in-ˈjəŋ(k)-shən How to pronounce injunction (audio)
: a court order commanding or forbidding the doing of some act
an injunction against the strike

Legal Definition


in·​junc·​tion in-ˈjəŋk-shən How to pronounce injunction (audio)
: an equitable remedy in the form of a court order compelling a party to do or refrain from doing a specified act compare cease-and-desist order at order sense 3b, damage, declaratory judgment at judgment sense 1a, mandamus, specific performance at performance, stay

Note: An injunction is available as a remedy for harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law. Thus it is used to prevent a future harmful action rather than to compensate for an injury that has already occurred, or to provide relief from harm for which an award of money damages is not a satisfactory solution or for which a monetary value is impossible to calculate. A defendant who violates an injunction is subject to penalty for contempt.

affirmative injunction
: an injunction requiring a positive act on the part of the defendant : mandatory injunction in this entry
final injunction
: permanent injunction in this entry
interlocutory injunction
: an injunction that orders the maintenance of the status quo between the parties prior to a final determination of the matter
specifically : preliminary injunction in this entry
mandatory injunction
: an injunction that compels the defendant to do some positive act rather than simply to maintain the situation as it was when the action was brought compare prohibitory injunction in this entry
permanent injunction
: an injunction imposed after a hearing and remaining in force at least until the defendant has complied with its provisions

called also final injunction, perpetual injunction

preliminary injunction
: an interlocutory injunction issued before a trial for purposes of preventing the defendant from acting in a way that will irreparably harm the plaintiff's ability to enforce his or her rights at the trial

called also temporary injunction

compare temporary restraining order at order

Note: Before a preliminary injunction can be issued, there must be a hearing with prior notice to the defendant. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65, the hearing and the trial may be consolidated.

prohibitory injunction
: an injunction that prohibits the defendant from taking a particular action and maintains the positions of the parties until there is a hearing to determine the matter in dispute
temporary injunction
: preliminary injunction in this entry

Middle French injonction, from Late Latin injunction-, injunctio, from Latin injungere to enjoin, from in- in + jungere to join

More from Merriam-Webster on injunction

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