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 That would shut down indoor dining, as well as limit large gyms and movie theaters to no more than six patrons and prohibit indoor visits at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. oregonlive, "Oregon governor says she will close indoor dining next Friday in some counties if COVID hospitalizations continue to spike," 23 Apr. 2021 Red flag laws tend to be supported by those favoring gun control, arguing that the policies can prohibit mass shootings from happening in the first place. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Indiana's 'red flag' law should have prevented the FedEx shooting. Here's what else you should know about these laws," 21 Apr. 2021 Sells, in explaining the purpose of his legislation, noted that state laws prohibit children from buying alcohol and cigarettes. Mike Cason |, al, "Alabama lawmakers consider bill to require activation of phone porn filters to protect kids," 21 Apr. 2021 The sanctions freeze assets held by the companies within U.S. jurisdictions and prohibit U.S.-based individuals and firms from doing business with the companies, unless permitted by Treasury’s OFAC. Mengqi Sun, WSJ, "U.S. Blacklists State-Owned Myanmar Timber and Pearl Companies," 21 Apr. 2021 While precautionary lockdowns — which prohibit almost all inmate movement — have been common across the country throughout the pandemic, Vermont took more extensive precautions in its prisons than other states did. New York Times, "In Vermont, Isolating Inmates Kept Covid at Bay, but at a Price," 21 Apr. 2021 As of now, only professional athletes can use those services because NCAA rules prohibit college athletes from getting paid. Tim Casey, Forbes, "INFLCR App Adds Features To Help College Athletes Prepare For Potential Revenue Opportunities," 20 Apr. 2021 The 39-bill package in the Senate would, among other things, also require photo ID to vote in person, prohibit the use of absentee ballot drop boxes on Election Day and ban prepaid postage on return envelopes. David Eggert, Detroit Free Press, "Benson: Michigan voting bills more restrictive than Georgia," 16 Apr. 2021 There are 34 counties, including Hamilton and Hancock, with ordinances that restrict wind and solar projects, or prohibit their construction altogether. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "'Like a hostage negotiation': Indiana bill on renewable energy standards dies after pushback," 15 Apr. 2021

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

25 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prohibit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 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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Comments on prohibit

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