pro·​hi·​bi·​tion | \ˌprō-ə-ˈbi-shən also ˌprō-hə- \

Definition of prohibition 

1 : the act of prohibiting by authority

2 : an order to restrain or stop

3 often capitalized : the forbidding by law of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic liquors except for medicinal and sacramental purposes

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Synonyms & Antonyms for prohibition


ban, embargo, interdict, interdiction, proscription, veto



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Examples of prohibition in a Sentence

the city's prohibition of smoking in restaurants a prohibition against parking on the street

Recent Examples on the Web

Those prohibitions do not apply to detainees held on serious criminal charges or to cases in which federal agents have obtained a judicial warrant. Bob Egelko,, "California’s sanctuary laws at a glance," 5 July 2018 The boom demonstrates the lightning speed at which prohibitions can crumble, and the cathartic benefits that can follow. The Economist, "Satire is booming after Robert Mugabe’s fall," 24 May 2018 In both cases, the ACLU has argued that the prohibition violates a person's constitutional right to free speech. Julia O'donoghue,, "John Bel Edwards says Louisiana won't do business with companies that boycott Israel," 22 May 2018 The ban has become more measured in some respects, though the current travel prohibitions have no expiration date, a contrast from the temporary nature of the earlier bans. WSJ, "The 10-Point.," 25 Apr. 2018 Alcohol with less than 15 percent ABV will still be allowed and the prohibition doesn't extend to fraternity events held at third-party venues. Leada Gore,, "Auburn fraternities ban hard liquor," 18 Apr. 2018 Those prohibitions do not apply to former employees such as Kelly, the former chief, the opinion says. Robert Higgs,, "Cleveland asks judge to disqualify ex-fire official's lawyers for ethics issues but lawyers say they're in the right," 14 Feb. 2018 No official prohibition stops the CDC from offering such funding. Steve Mirsky, Scientific American, "The Federal Government Makes It Ridiculously Hard to Study Gun Violence and Medical Marijuana," 1 May 2017 The 160-room, 109-year-old hotel, a block off Pearl Street, is also home to Spruce Farm & Fish restaurant and License No. 1, said to be the first city restaurant with a liquor license after local prohibition ended in 1967. Melanie D.g. Kaplan,, "Boulder, Colorado, does things its own way," 12 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for prohibition

The first known use of prohibition was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of prohibition

: the act of not allowing something to be used or done

: a law or order that stops something from being used or done

Prohibition : the period of time from 1920 to 1933 in the U.S. when it was illegal to make or sell alcohol


pro·​hi·​bi·​tion | \ˌprō-ə-ˈbi-shən \

Kids Definition of prohibition

1 : the act of making something illegal or impossible

2 : the forbidding by law of the sale or manufacture of alcoholic liquids for use as beverages


pro·​hi·​bi·​tion | \ˌprō-ə-ˈbi-shən \

Legal Definition of prohibition 

1a : an extraordinary writ issued by a higher court commanding an inferior court to keep within its proper jurisdiction (as by ceasing a prosecution)

b : an order to refrain or stop

2a : something (as a law) that prohibits a certain act or procedure

b capitalized : the period from 1920 to 1933 in the U.S. when the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic liquors was prohibited by the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Other Words from prohibition

prohibitive \ prō-​ˈhi-​bə-​tiv \ adjective
prohibitively adverb
prohibitory \ -​ˈhi-​bə-​ˌtōr-​ē \ adjective

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Comments on prohibition

What made you want to look up prohibition? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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