pro·​hib·​it prō-ˈhi-bət How to pronounce prohibit (audio)
prohibited; prohibiting; prohibits

transitive verb

: to forbid by authority : enjoin
: to prevent from doing something
Choose the Right Synonym for prohibit

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 prohibit in a Sentence

The rules prohibit dating a coworker. The prison's electric fence prohibits escape.
Recent Examples on the Web In court filings, the state argued that the Supreme Court has never authorized universal injunctions and some circuit courts even prohibit them. Ann Marimow, Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2024 Until recently, San Francisco prohibited nearly all helicopters from landing within the city limits. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 Enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP grew to a record of nearly 94.5 million in April of last year, three years after the federal government prohibited states from cutting people from their rolls during the covid-19 public health emergency. Phil Galewitz, CBS News, 12 Apr. 2024 Meta already prohibits nudity on news feeds and other public areas of its platforms. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, 11 Apr. 2024 The legislation also would prohibit ownership of crypto mines by citizens or businesses from countries subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Neal Earley,, 11 Apr. 2024 Hann and Jennifer's brother, Felix, also obtained restraining orders against Jennifer prohibiting her from contacting them ever again. Jessica Sager, Peoplemag, 11 Apr. 2024 The rules prohibit some uses — routine AI-enabled facial recognition by law enforcement, for one — while requiring other programs to submit information about safety and public risks. David Klepper, Fortune, 11 Apr. 2024 The Texas law specifically prohibits enforcement at locations including schools, hospitals and churches, and it's framed as targeting border security, not interior enforcement. Lauren Villagran, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prohibit.' 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, from Latin prohibitus, past participle of prohibēre to keep off, from pro- forward + habēre to hold — more at pro-, give

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near prohibit

Cite this Entry

“Prohibit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


pro·​hib·​it prō-ˈhib-ət How to pronounce prohibit (audio)
: to forbid by authority
prohibit parking
: to make impossible
the high walls prohibit escape

More from Merriam-Webster on prohibit

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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