Inhibit vs Prohibit
Greg Landretti asks:
How about “inhibit” versus “prohibit”?
The first definition of inhibit in the OED gives “prohibit” as a synonym:
inhibit: trans. To forbid, prohibit, interdict (a person)
Several of the illustrations show inhibit being used where a modern writer would probably use prohibit. Here’s one:
By expresse words he was inhibited to beare armes without his own frontiers.
prohibit: trans. To forbid (an action, event, commodity, etc.) by a command, statute, law, or other authority
Perhaps owing to the influence of the psychology term inhibition, current usage usually associates inhibit with internal control and prohibit with external control.
inhibition: Psychol. A voluntary or involuntary restraint or check that prevents the direct expression of an instinctive impulse; also colloq., in looser use, an inner hindrance to conduct or activity.
Scientists fear that libel ruling will inhibit debate.
Most dogs need to learn to control or inhibit their behavior.
B.C. Government Says it Will Prohibit Mining in the Flathead.
New Hampshire Bill HB 1301 will prohibit no-fault divorce for parents with minor children.
The ability to inhibit one’s desires and impulses is an essential and desirable social skill. In some contexts, however, the word inhibited conveys a negative state, while uninhibited is seen as positive.
I find myself wishing I were not so inhibited.
The people from South Africa are known for the wonderful, uninhibited way in which they express their joy and happiness in life.
It was not until the twentieth century that freedom of the press came to be understood as guaranteeing an “uninhibited, robust and wide-open” public discourse.
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