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

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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 Some cities, like New York, have put laws in place that prohibit the sharing of information with immigration officials. oregonlive, "Feds sue New Jersey and King County over sanctuary policies similar to those in Oregon," 11 Feb. 2020 In 2014, then-Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed an order that prohibited tobacco products and e-cigarettes in some state buildings. R.g. Dunlop, ProPublica, "How These Jail Officials Profit From Selling E-Cigarettes to Inmates," 7 Feb. 2020 FreeTime also has thousands of options in Spanish and offers strong Parental Controls that prohibit access to social media. Popular Science, "Tablets you’ll want your kids to use," 5 Feb. 2020 In January 2019, Wisconsin State Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) proposed a bill that would prohibit wildlife hunting contests. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cedarburg rabbit hunts have raised $486,000 for MS research. Animal rights activists want the fundraiser to change.," 4 Feb. 2020 The only major difference in the way the company is being run, Seymour said, is the court injunction issued in August that prohibited unionized maintenance workers from intentionally slowing down work. Kyle Arnold, Dallas News, "American Airlines credits lull in labor hostilities for turnaround in operating woes," 26 Jan. 2020 In 1832, the Supreme Court handed down a decision, in Worcester v. Georgia, that effectively prohibited the states from usurping Native Americans’ sovereignty over their lands. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "Trump, Impeachment, and the Short-Term Thinking of the G.O.P.," 26 Jan. 2020 The maneuver allowed the Indiana casino company to skirt federal election laws that prohibit corporate contributions and place limits on the amount of money an individual can contribute, according to court records. Crystal Hill, Indianapolis Star, "Spectacle Entertainment's Vigo County casino in jeopardy due to federal probe," 24 Jan. 2020 The bill is an expansion of Kelsey's Law, a measure passed in 2013 that prohibits drivers with Level 1 and Level 2 licenses from using their cellphones while driving except in the case of an emergency. Meredith Spelbring, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan bill would ban drivers under 18 from using cellphone behind wheel," 9 Jan. 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

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prohibit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for prohibit


How to pronounce prohibit (audio)

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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