or in·hib·it·er

  1. a person or thing that inhibits.
  2. Chemistry. a substance that decreases the rate of or stops completely a chemical reaction.
  3. any impurity in a mineral that prevents luminescence.Compare activator(def 3).
  4. Rocketry. an inert antioxidant used with solid propellants to inhibit burning on certain surfaces.

Origin of inhibitor

First recorded in 1865–70; inhibit + -or2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for inhibiter


  1. Also called: inhibiter a person or thing that inhibits
  2. Also called: anticatalyst a substance that retards or stops a chemical reactionCompare catalyst
  3. biochem
    1. a substance that inhibits the action of an enzyme
    2. a substance that inhibits a metabolic or physiological processa plant growth inhibitor
  4. any impurity in a solid that prevents luminescence
  5. an inert substance added to some rocket fuels to inhibit ignition on certain surfaces
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for inhibiter



1868 in scientific use (earlier as a Scottish legal term), agent noun in Latin form from inhibit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inhibiter in Medicine


  1. A substance that restrains or retards physiological, chemical, or enzymatic action.
  2. A nerve whose stimulation represses activity.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.