View synonyms for prohibit


[ proh-hib-it ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to forbid (an action, activity, etc.) by authority or law:

    Smoking is prohibited here.

    Synonyms: interdict

    Antonyms: permit

  2. to forbid the action of (a person).
  3. to prevent; hinder.

    Synonyms: obstruct


/ prəˈhɪbɪt /


  1. to forbid by law or other authority
  2. to hinder or prevent

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Derived Forms

  • proˈhibiter, noun

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Other Words From

  • pro·hib·it·er pro·hib·i·tor noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of prohibit1

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, from Latin prohibitus, past participle of prohibēre “to hold before, hold back, hinder, forbid,” equivalent to pro- pro- 1 + -hibēre, combining form of habēre “to have, hold”; habit 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of prohibit1

C15: from Latin prohibēre to prevent, from pro- 1+ habēre to hold

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Synonym Study

See forbid.

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Example Sentences

There are several state laws on the books prohibiting people from violating public health orders with fines of up to $1,000.

On Thursday, LeBlanc also unveiled a policy that will prohibit university departments, student groups or guests from selling or giving away certain plastics, including beverage bottles and eating utensils.

That’s because of a US federal law known as the Passenger Vessels Service Act that prohibits foreign-registered ships from sailing between two American ports without stopping at a foreign port.

From Quartz

By law, the organization is prohibited from attempting to influence policy.

Studios began postponing their releases or moving them to streaming services, governments limited or prohibited attendance, and consumers largely stayed home.

At that point, the Library of Congress can once again decide to prohibit consumers from unlocking their cell phones.

No problem—Congress is about to prohibit us from buying them.

His first demand was that the country's official constitution be rewritten to prohibit extradition.

And the health law might not prohibit it, opening a door to potential erosion of employer-based coverage.

And yet Louisiana does not prohibit a far stranger peccadillo: sex with corpses.

He should not consider himself to be called upon to prohibit only some practices clearly evinced to be sinful.

The state may prohibit a telegraph company from transmitting racetrack news.

Small wonder that the rules of the Board of Control prohibit the use of the stern blast under one thousand feet.

After having thus prepossessed our minds, they next prohibit our examining the things so important to be known.

As, in a savage state, most possessions are those which are useful in war, he would prohibit theft.


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Prohibit Vs. Inhibit

What’s the difference between prohibit and inhibit?

Prohibit most commonly means to forbid or disallow, but it can also mean what inhibit usually means—to prevent or hinder. Inhibit can also mean to forbid, but this use is much less common.

Prohibit is most commonly used in the context of rules, especially official ones like laws. The speed limit prohibits you from going above a certain speed. Parents might prohibit their kids from eating candy before dinner, but the word forbid is more commonly used in cases like this.

Inhibit, on the other hand, is usually used in the context of things that prevent or hinder what someone is trying to do. Speed bumps are designed to inhibit speeding. A leg injury can inhibit your ability to walk.

The meaning of prohibit and inhibit most often overlaps in cases when something is inhibited to the point of almost not being able to happen at all, as in This cast is designed to prohibit movement (prohibit could be replaced with inhibit in this sentence without much or any change in meaning).

The adjective form inhibited is often used to indicate that someone or something is held back from full potential. When it’s applied to a person, it usually involves a mental, emotional, or psychological block, as in I feel less inhibited around my new group of friends—they accept me for who I am.

The adjective prohibited describes something that’s forbidden, as in The sign lists all of the prohibited activities. 

Here’s an example of prohibit and inhibit used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: To inhibit the acceleration of climate change, we must prohibit any increase in fossil fuel emissions. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between inhibit and prohibit.

Quiz yourself on prohibit vs. inhibit!

Should prohibit or inhibit be used in the following sentence?

The school board adopted a new rule to _____ smoking anywhere on school grounds.

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