Definition of inhibit in English:

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Pronunciation: /inˈhibit/

verb (inhibits, inhibiting, inhibited)

[with object]
1Hinder, restrain, or prevent (an action or process): cold inhibits plant growth
More example sentences
  • Public provision of social security assistance could become less important if governments remove policies inhibiting innovation or restraining growth.
  • The size and weight of early equipment, as well as technical difficulties and financial restraints, inhibited the development of radio communications between the wars.
  • Tight ‘influx’ controls were designed to check urban growth and inhibit the development of a black urban working class.
impede, hinder, hamper, hold back, discourage, interfere with, obstruct, slow down, retard;
curb, check, suppress, restrict, fetter, cramp, frustrate, stifle, prevent, block, thwart, foil, stop, halt
1.1Prevent or prohibit (someone) from doing something: the earnings rule inhibited some retired people from working
More example sentences
  • Break it up, and let us staff it with people who care about what they do, and do not have to bow and scrape to a Government bureaucracy that inhibits them from being as constructive as they possibly can be.
  • Later they said that the presence of the live TV cameras inhibited them from taking aggressive measures to end the ordeal.
  • This reason is cited by 15 percent of respondents as a factor which either has or will inhibit them from seeing a psychotherapist.
prevent, disallow, exclude, forbid, prohibit, preclude, ban, bar, interdict
1.2 Psychology Voluntarily or involuntarily restrain the direct expression of (an instinctive impulse).
Example sentences
  • Relationally victimized children also report more self-restraint problems than their peers, including more difficulty inhibiting anger and greater impulsivity.
  • The patient is in a panic mode and cannot be counted on to inhibit any impulses.
  • Normally, we all inhibit our sexual desires because we fear that we'll be rejected or that we'll overwhelm or otherwise hurt the other person.
1.3chiefly Physiology & Biochemistry (Chiefly of a drug or other substance) slow down or prevent (a process, reaction, or function) or reduce the activity of (an enzyme or other agent).
Example sentences
  • Unlike liquid extracted from other varieties of citrus, grapefruit juice can inhibit enzyme reactions in the gut.
  • If the restriction enzyme activities were inhibited, the DNA fragment would not be cleaved and should be seen in its original size on the gel.
  • Finally inclusion of EDTA in the reaction mixture inhibited the binding reaction suggesting that the divalent cations are essential for this binding activity.
2Make (someone) self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way: his mother’s strictures would always inhibit him
More example sentences
  • Nor can you allow his prior experience to inhibit you, since it does not put you at a disadvantage in any way that really matters.
  • That one looked like he would like very much to be drunk, but obviously he was inhibited by the presence of his superior officer.
  • You could dress it in superhero costumes, fantasize scenarios in which it pulls off epic feats, and use it to help you escape the imaginary constraints that have been inhibiting you lately.
3(In ecclesiastical law) forbid (a member of the clergy) to exercise clerical functions.



Pronunciation: /-tiv/
Example sentences
  • In Canada and in America, if you get caught dumping toxic waste in a river, or you clear-cut an area you weren't supposed to clear-cut, you're often fined, but the fine isn't necessarily all that inhibitive.
  • Scientists also found that it continued to have its inhibitive effect for a week, whereas black tea's enzyme-inhibiting properties lasted for only one day.
  • I have always found closed stacks to be inhibitive of my learning process.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'forbid (a person) to do something'): from Latin inhibere 'hinder', from in- 'in' + habere 'hold'.

Words that rhyme with inhibit

adhibit, exhibit, gibbet, prohibit

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·hib·it

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