tr.v. in·hib·it·ed, in·hib·it·ing, in·hib·its
a. To hold back; restrain: barricades that inhibited the movement of the crowd; a lack of knowledge that inhibited his inclination to ask questions. See Synonyms at restrain.
b. To cause (a person) to behave in a restrained or self-conscious way: He felt inhibited by the presence of so many famous people.
c. Psychology To suppress or restrain (behavior, an impulse, or a desire) consciously or unconsciously.
a. Chemistry To prevent or decrease the rate of (a reaction).
b. Biology To decrease, limit, or block the action or function of (an enzyme or organ, for example).
3. To prohibit (an ecclesiastic) from performing clerical duties.
[Middle English inhibiten, to forbid, from Latin inhibēre, inhibit-, to restrain, forbid : in-, in; see IN-2 + habēre, to hold; see ghabh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
in·hibi·tive, in·hibi·to′ry (-tôr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.