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

Earlier this month in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered that state’s health department to come out with emergency rules to prohibit flavored e-cigarette sales. Washington Post, "Retailers scramble as NY moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes," 18 Sep. 2019 The bill, backed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, seeks to amend the Higher Education Act to prohibit universities from penalizing students who are part single-gender organizations, whether or not those groups are officially recognized. Leada Gore |, al, "Bill would protect one-sex fraternities and sororities; Sen. Doug Jones asked to support," 17 Sep. 2019 In May, Maine became the fourth state to prohibit parents of schoolchildren from opting out of vaccinations for religious or philosophical reasons. Daniela Altimari,, "As Connecticut’s immunization levels decline, Gov. Ned Lamont, legislative leaders vow to repeal religious exemption for vaccines," 16 Sep. 2019 Gun violence restraining orders: Congress should allow an immediate family member or law enforcement officer to petition to prohibit a person from possessing or purchasing a firearm. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: California gun laws are helping lower suicide rate," 15 Sep. 2019 That's why, in 2014, Moms Demand Action launched a national campaign asking Kroger to prohibit open carry in its stores. Shannon Watts For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Corporate America is taking a stand against gun violence. It's about time," 9 Sep. 2019 Several national health groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, backed Michigan’s planned ban and renewed calls for the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the sale of thousands of flavored vaping products nationwide. David Eggert, The Denver Post, "Michigan to become 1st state to ban flavored e-cigarettes," 4 Sep. 2019 Late last year, Tigar halted a similar effort by the administration to prohibit migrants who cross the border illegally from being able to seek asylum. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Justice Department asks Supreme Court to allow border asylum ban," 26 Aug. 2019 Frazier, whose district includes Westminster, suggested enabling legislation that would allow the commissioners to prohibit the use of plastic bags by commercial establishments, with some exceptions. Mary Grace Keller,, "Commissioners consider paying telecommuters to move to Carroll County, set to discuss legislative ideas with delegation next week," 23 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

12 Oct 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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a bell tower

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