View synonyms for inhibition


[ in-i-bish-uhn, in-hi- ]


  1. the act of inhibiting.
  2. the state of being inhibited.
  3. something that inhibits; constraint.
  4. Psychology.
    1. the blocking or holding back of one psychological process by another.
    2. inappropriate conscious or unconscious restraint or suppression of behavior, as sexual behavior, often due to guilt or fear produced by past punishment, or sometimes considered a dispositional trait.
  5. Physiology.
    1. a restraining, arresting, or checking of the action of an organ or cell.
    2. the reduction of a reflex or other activity as the result of an antagonistic stimulation.
    3. a state created at synapses making them less excitable by other sources of stimulation.
  6. Chemistry. a stoppage or decrease in the rate of action of a chemical reaction.
  7. English Ecclesiastical Law. an order, especially from a bishop, suspending a priest or an incumbent from the performance of duties.


/ ˌɪnɪˈbɪʃən; ˌɪnhɪ- /


  1. the act of inhibiting or the condition of being inhibited
  2. psychol
    1. a mental state or condition in which the varieties of expression and behaviour of an individual become restricted
    2. the weakening of a learned response usually as a result of extinction or because of the presence of a distracting stimulus
    3. (in psychoanalytical theory) the unconscious restraining of an impulse See also repression
  3. the process of stopping or retarding a chemical reaction
  4. physiol the suppression of the function or action of an organ or part, as by stimulation of its nerve supply
  5. Church of England an episcopal order suspending an incumbent
“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


/ ĭn′hə-bĭshən /

  1. The blocking or limiting of the activity of an organ, tissue, or cell of the body, caused by the action of a nerve or neuron or by the release of a substance such as a hormone or neurotransmitter.
  2. Compare excitation


  1. A personal hindrance to activity or expression. For example, fear of contracting cancer might serve as an inhibition against smoking.

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Other Words From

  • inter·inhi·bition noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of inhibition1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English inhibicio(u)n, from Latin inhibitiōn-, stem of inhibitiō “prevention, restraint”; equivalent to inhibit + -ion
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Example Sentences

Conscious, slow, deep breaths cause sympathoinhibition, or inhibition of the sympathetic nervous system, which is exactly what gets over-excited when you’re anxious or stressed.

The blow keeps you awake and the alcohol lowers your inhibitions.

From Fortune

So the team conducted separate analyses of enzyme activity which found no protease inhibition at all.

Adaptations to responses other than fear may also have built on this coupling of heartbeat and inhibition.

That’s why I like “social inhibition” or “bystander inhibition,” because that tells you what the effect is.

But the author of the more recent and definitive three-volume life, Robert Skidelsky, felt no such inhibition.

In an all-girls class, he says, girls are encouraged to speak up without inhibition.

Hanging can trigger a reflex known as vagal inhibition, which can instantly stop the heart.

Her ADHD subjects were particularly masterful when the talent in question involved a lack of inhibition.

Driven without inhibition or pause, until another hand grasped mine.

No plays should be given during the time of sickness, or during any inhibition ordered at any time by the city authorities.

Physical inhibition in the growth of the brain involves, on the mental side, feeble-mindedness and idiocy.

But not satisfied with this, she determined to be revenged on her husband by obtaining, if possible, his inhibition.

Movements and contractions due to nervousness are entirely purposeless; they even defy the most earnest efforts at inhibition.

Flogging has become a pleasure purchasable in our streets, and inhibition a grown-up habit that children play at.


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