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inhibition Line breaks: in|hib|ition
Pronunciation: /ɪn(h)ɪˈbɪʃ(ə)n/

Definition of inhibition in English:


1A feeling that makes one self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way: the children, at first shy, soon lost their inhibitions [mass noun]: she showed an enthusiasm for sex and a lack of inhibition which was entirely alien to him
More example sentences
  • And what with alcohol removing your natural inhibitions, I… did some things that I shouldn't have.
  • Once the Soviet Union collapsed, the fear and inhibitions mostly disappeared, but the psychological need to confront ‘evil’ states remained.
  • I remember being a little shy about bathing outside naked but then my inhibitions would disappear at the sheer joy of feeling that soft warm water on my hot skin.
shyness, reticence, self-consciousness, reserve, diffidence, bashfulness, coyness, embarrassment, unease, wariness, reluctance, discomfort, hesitance, hesitancy, apprehension, nerves, nervousness, insecurity;
lack of confidence, unassertiveness, timidity, timorousness;
repression, restraint, constraint, reservation, mental block, psychological block
informal hang-up
1.1 Psychology A restraint on the direct expression of an instinct.
Example sentences
  • But Freud also acknowledged that purely external factors, rather than internal inhibitions, might prevent the direct expression of such impulses.
  • She then builds up a secondary inhibition to sexual arousal in order to avoid the frustration accompanying an unsatisfying sexual experience.
  • The moral that Freud drew from this reasoning was that the inhibition of natural emotional expressions could lead to dangerous consequences.
1.2 [mass noun] The slowing or prevention of a process, reaction, or function by a particular substance.
Example sentences
  • With respect to this subject, the reported DNA damage and inhibition of DNA repair functions by photooxidative reactions is an interesting aspect.
  • Similar calmodulin-mediated phosphorylations lead to inhibition of glycogen synthase.
  • The alternative possibility, that the kinetic complexity of Mg-G-actin digestions arises from trypsin inhibition in these reactions, has been tested in two ways.
2 [mass noun] The action of inhibiting a process.
Example sentences
  • The main characteristic of whole body withdrawal is complete inhibition of swimming.
  • It may involve simultaneous activation of some belief representations and inhibition of others.
  • There is no reason to think other large single-currency areas, such as China, pay any smaller cost in terms of overall GDP inhibition and regional disparity.
3 Law , British An order or writ of prohibition, especially against dealing with a specified piece of land or property.
Example sentences
  • As the accountant or the lawyer pointed out though, there would be stamp duty inhibitions on that.
  • Now, these provisions mean that the land is less valuable than it would be if the land were conveyed without the inhibitions?
  • Yes, but the practical effect of the inhibition on the lawyer to give a communication is to inhibit the receipt of the communication by the person to whom it is directed.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'forbidding, a prohibition'): from Latin inhibitio(n-), from the verb inhibere (see inhibit).

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