• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to restrain, hinder, arrest, or check (an action, impulse, etc.).
  2. to prohibit; forbid.
  3. Psychology. to consciously or unconsciously suppress or restrain (psychologically or sociologically unacceptable behavior).
  4. Chemistry. to decrease the rate of action of or stop (a chemical reaction).
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Origin of inhibit

1425–75; late Middle English inhibiten < Latin inhibitus, past participle of inhibēre to restrain, equivalent to in- in-2 + -hibēre, combining form of habēre to have, hold
Related formsin·hib·it·a·ble, adjectivein·hib·i·to·ry [in-hib-i-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪnˈhɪb ɪˈtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, in·hib·i·tive, adjectivein·ter·in·hib·i·tive, adjectivenon·in·hib·i·tive, adjectivenon·in·hib·i·to·ry, adjectiveo·ver·in·hib·it, verb (used with object)sub·in·hib·i·to·ry, adjectiveun·in·hib·it·ing, adjective

Synonyms for inhibit

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for inhibitive

Historical Examples of inhibitive

  • So-called "willfulness" is a will in which the volitional power has not yet been balanced with this inhibitive power.

    Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium

    Jessie H. Bancroft

  • Yet from the inhibitive side also we have already had important achievements to record.

  • It exerts an inhibitive action upon the growth of microorganisms, but irritates the tissues.

  • Presence of small quantities of potash may be responsible for the inhibitive nature of this black pigment.

  • We were out for a high old time; and part of a high old time was a wild and reckless disregard of inhibitive sporting conventions.

    The Killer

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for inhibitive


verb -its, -iting or -ited (tr)
  1. to restrain or hinder (an impulse, a desire, etc)
  2. to prohibit; forbid
  3. to stop, prevent, or decrease the rate of (a chemical reaction)
  4. electronics
    1. to prevent the occurrence of (a particular signal) in a circuit
    2. to prevent the performance of (a particular operation)
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Derived Formsinhibitable, adjectiveinhibitive or inhibitory, adjective

Word Origin for inhibit

C15: from Latin inhibēre to restrain, from in- ² + habēre to have
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 inhibitive



early 15c., "to forbid, prohibit," back-formation from inhibition or else from Latin inhibitus, past participle of inhibere "to hold in, hold back, keep back" (see inhibition). Psychological sense (1876) is from earlier, softened meaning of "restrain, check, hinder" (1530s). Related: Inhibited; inhibiting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inhibitive in Medicine


  1. To hold back; restrain.
  2. To suppress or restrain a behavioral process, an impulse, or a desire consciously or unconsciously.
  3. To prevent or decrease the rate of a chemical reaction.
  4. To decrease, limit, or block the action or function of something in the body, as an enzyme or organ.
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Related formsin•hibi•to′ry (-tôr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.