pro·​hib·​it | \prō-ˈhi-bət, prə-\
prohibited; prohibiting; prohibits

Definition of prohibit 

transitive verb

1 : to forbid by authority : enjoin

2a : to prevent from doing something

b : preclude

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Synonyms & Antonyms for prohibit


ban, bar, enjoin, forbid, interdict, outlaw, proscribe


allow, let, permit, suffer

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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

The Magnitsky Act aims to curb human rights violations around the world by prohibiting access to the United States and its banking system by individuals who commit heinous crimes. Alex Ward, Vox, "Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it.," 15 Nov. 2018 Separate guidance from the agency would shield the firm from a provision of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 prohibiting fiduciaries from self-dealing, including earning fees as a result of their recommendations. Anne Tergesen, WSJ, "Labor Department Clears Path for Automatic 401(k) Transfers," 12 Nov. 2018 From administrators blaming girls for a ban on athletic shorts to prohibiting backless dresses that go below the mid-back at prom, there’s no shortage of wardrobe policing happening in school hallways just about everywhere. Mekita Rivas, Teen Vogue, "A Woman Was Told She Couldn't Attend Her College Graduation Because Her Ankles Were Showing," 28 Sep. 2018 Selena Scola, who worked at Facebook for nine months, was tasked with enforcing the company’s policy on prohibited content such as violence, hate speech, child exploitation, nudity and disinformation, according to Gerren Keith Gaynor, Fox News, "Ex-Facebook content moderator claims disturbing images gave her PTSD; sues," 25 Sep. 2018 Among states with bans, the strictness of the laws varies from prohibiting touching your phone at all to making only calling and texting off-limits. Justine Mcdaniel,, "One hand on the wheel, one on the phone: Still legal while driving in Pa.," 6 July 2018 In her ruling, Eckerle wrote that state law is very clear in prohibiting businesses from maintaining such a claim. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Haymarket defamation lawsuit moves forward with new court ruling," 28 June 2018 The most recent state to act: Georgia, which has a new law July 1 that makes a point of prohibiting drivers from streaming video on their phones while they motor. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "You can't stream video while driving, more states decide as distracted driving deaths rise," 28 June 2018 State law prevents local governments from prohibiting people from leasing their home as a vacation rental. Martin E. Comas,, "Seminole looks at rules for Airbnb, other short-term rentals in neighborhoods," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prohibit.' 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 prohibit

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prohibit

Middle English, from Latin prohibitus, past participle of prohibēre to keep off, from pro- forward + habēre to hold — more at pro-, give

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Statistics for prohibit

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prohibit

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

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More Definitions for prohibit



English Language Learners Definition of prohibit

: to order (someone) not to use or do something

: to say that (something) is not allowed

: to make (something) impossible to do


pro·​hib·​it | \prō-ˈhi-bət \
prohibited; prohibiting

Kids Definition of prohibit

1 : to forbid by authority Parking is prohibited.

2 : to make impossible The high walls prohibit escape.

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More from Merriam-Webster on prohibit

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prohibit

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prohibit

Spanish Central: Translation of prohibit

Nglish: Translation of prohibit for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prohibit for Arabic Speakers

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