late 14c., prohibicioun, "act of prohibiting or forbidding, a forbidding by authority, an order forbidding certain actions," from Anglo-French and Old French prohibition, prohibicion (early 13c.), from Latin prohibitionem (nominative prohibitio) "a hindering, forbidding; legal prohibition," noun of action from past-participle stem of prohibere "hold back, restrain, hinder, prevent," from pro "away, forth" (see pro-) + habere "to hold" (from PIE root *ghabh- "to give or receive").
The meaning "interdiction by law of the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, except for medicinal or sacramental uses," is by 1851, American English. The national Prohibition party in the U.S. organized in 1869. The policy was in effect nationwide in U.S. as law 1920-1933 under the Volstead Act.
People whose youth did not coincide with the twenties never had our reverence for strong drink. Older men knew liquor before it became the symbol of a sacred cause. Kids who began drinking after 1933 take it as a matter of course. ... Drinking, we proved to ourselves our freedom as individuals and flouted Congress. We conformed to a popular type of dissent — dissent from a minority. It was the only period during which a fellow could be smug and slopped concurrently. [A.J. Liebling, "Between Meals," 1959]
Related: Prohibitionist; prohibitionism.
c. 1300, "proclamation or edict of an overlord," from Old English (ge)bann "proclamation, summons, command" and cognate Old French ban "decree, announcement," which is from a Germanic language, from Proto-Germanic *bannaz (source also of Old Frisian bon "order, commandment; jurisdiction, penalty; eternal damnation, excommunication," Old Saxon bann "commandment, prohibition"), from *bannan "to speak publicly" (used in reference to various sorts of proclamations), "command; summon; outlaw, forbid" (see ban (v.)). Meaning "an authoritative prohibition" is from 1660s. There are noun forms in most of the Germanic languages, from the verbs. Compare banns.
"member of a criminal gang practicing extortion, 'protection,' intimidation, etc.," 1927, a word from Prohibition, from racket (n.1) in the "dishonest activity" sense + -eer. Earlier (1926) in reference to organizers of fraudulent bankruptcies. By 1928 as a verb. Related: Racketeering, verbal noun (1927).
[A] racketeer is nothing more nor less than a gangster who has organized thuggery along business lines. ["What is a Racketeer?" Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct. 7, 1928]
late 14c., "a prohibition" (a sense now obsolete), also "absence, nonexistence; opposite," from Old French negatif and directly from Latin negativus (see negative (adj.)).
Meaning "a negative statement" is from 1560s. Sense of "that side of a question which denies what the opposite side affirms" is from 1570s. Meaning "the right or power of refusing assent" is from 1610s. Meaning "a negative quality" is from 1640s. In mathematics, "a negative number," from 1706. Photographic sense of "image in which the lights and shades are the opposite of those in nature" is recorded by 1853. As a response, "I refuse, disagree, no," from 1945, originally in radio communication.