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


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

PayPal, Square, and Apple Pay prohibit the sale of guns on their payment systems. Ellen Florian, Fortune, "Are Credit Card Companies the Key to Stopping Mass Shooters? These Visa Shareholders Think So," 14 Aug. 2019 Thanks to brilliant lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry, federal law even prohibits Medicare, a major buyer of drugs, from using its purchasing power to negotiate prices directly. Los Angeles Times, "Pssst ... Want to buy some insulin or other lifesaving medicine? Go to Canada," 14 Aug. 2019 Peloton prohibits users from modifying the bike to download other apps like Hulu or Netflix. Natt Garun, The Verge, "How to watch YouTube on a Peloton bike or treadmill," 14 Aug. 2019 The new safety procedures would prohibit Segway use by intoxicated people, require users under 18 to be accompanied by an adult and mandate that tour guides have a driver’s license. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego cracking down on Segways to curb injury payouts," 12 Aug. 2019 The legislation, approved this spring without opposition in either chamber of the General Assembly, prohibits employers from requiring workers to sign nondisclosure and arbitration agreements related to harassment or discrimination. Lisa Donovan,, "The Spin: Rod Blagojevich still running | Jeffrey Epstein court records mention Pritzker family member | Will Amazon help Peotone land airport?," 12 Aug. 2019 But the law prohibits the government from collecting the records in a centralized repository. Michael K. Mcintyre,, "Most Americans want action on guns: What do we know about what works?," 11 Aug. 2019 Hospital rules prohibit her bringing wine to the event., "Wine honoring a girl’s life and a grandfather’s legacy," 11 Aug. 2019 California prohibits new devices from venting natural gas and requires quarterly inspections. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Colorado toughened up its oil and gas rules. But how tough are they?," 11 Aug. 2019

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

17 Aug 2019

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 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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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

Comments on prohibit

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marked by turns or indirection

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