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).

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)

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.


  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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