pro·​hib·​it | \ prō-ˈhi-bət How to pronounce prohibit (audio) , 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



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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 Republican senators in Pennsylvania are drawing up legislation that would prohibit vaccine passports, also known as health certificates or travel passes, from being used to bar people from routine activities. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "Infections rise as vaccinations increase across US; 12 states to allow all adults to get vaccines Monday: Latest COVID-19 updates," 5 Apr. 2021 Colorado is one of seven states considering legislation that would prohibit the use of Native American mascots, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. Patty Nieberg, Star Tribune, "Colorado is latest to weigh ban on Native American mascots," 1 Apr. 2021 With nearly the same speed, two Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation to prohibit the passports in Ohio. J.d. Davidson, Washington Examiner, "Ohio lawmakers quickly introduce bill to stop ‘vaccine passports’," 31 Mar. 2021 Earlier in the session, the House and Senate passed legislation to prohibit someone convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery of a family or household member from possessing a firearm for three years. Washington Post, "Virginia lawmakers say they’re near deal on marijuana legalization as General Assembly winds down ambitious session," 27 Feb. 2021 Illinois rules do not ban prone restraint, but the General Assembly plans to take up legislation in January that would prohibit it. Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, "National Ban on School Use of Seclusion and Restraint of Students Introduced in Congress," 19 Nov. 2020 Illinois rules do not ban prone restraint, but the General Assembly plans to take up legislation in January that would prohibit it. Jennifer Smith Richards,, "Secluding schoolchildren in isolated spaces would be illegal under a new federal bill," 19 Nov. 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris also backed legislation to prohibit USDA from granting line-speed waivers. Mike Dorning,, "Trump Administration Makes Last Push to Speed Up Chicken Lines Despite Pandemic," 11 Nov. 2020 Cherry has used his platform to advocate for The Crown Act, legislation that would legally prohibit discrimination based on a Black person's hairstyle or texture nationwide. Aimee Simeon,, "Blue Ivy Carter Narrates Hair Love & Sends A Powerful Message," 10 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for prohibit

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prohibit

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prohibit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce prohibit (audio) \
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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