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verb, pre·clude \pri-ˈklüd\

Simple Definition of preclude

  • : to make (something) impossible : to prevent (something) from happening

  • : to prevent (someone) from doing something

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of preclude


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  close

  3. 2 :  to make impossible by necessary consequence :  rule out in advance

preclusion play \-ˈklü-zhən\ noun
preclusive play \-ˈklü-siv, -ziv\ adjective
preclusively adverb

Examples of preclude in a sentence

  1. I fear these things, but vaguely, for my brain buzzes in the merciful wash of endorphins that preclude any thought from occupying it too long. —Louise Erdrich, Harper's, May 1993

  2. … the institution [of slavery] in the United States was almost uniquely despotic, a closed system so powerful and totalitarian that organized insurrection was almost entirely precluded … —William Styron, American Heritage, October 1992

  3. But conceptual blinders can preclude observation, while most accurate generalities guarantee no proper resolution of specific anatomies, but can certainly guide perceptions along fruitful paths. —Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989

  4. … the same profusion of water that precluded overland travel in the summer months could, during the sledgehammer freeze of winter, be utilized as a natural highway—albeit a highway of ice. —Jon Krakauer, Smithsonian, November 1987

  5. She suffered an injury that precluded the possibility of an athletic career.

  6. Bad weather precluded any further attempts to reach the summit.

Origin of preclude

Latin praecludere, from prae- + claudere to close — more at close

First Known Use: 1629

Law Dictionary


transitive verb pre·clude \pri-ˈklüd\

Legal Definition of preclude


  1. :  to prevent or exclude by necessary consequence: as a :  to prevent (a party) from litigating an action or claim especially by collateral estoppel or res judicata <they are precluded only because they failed to assert…the grounds for recovery they now assert — Roach v. Teamsters Local Union No. 688, 595 F.2d 446 (1979)> b :  to prevent (a claim or action) from being litigated especially by collateral estoppel or res judicata <the Civil Service Reform Act provides the exclusive address for adverse federal employment actions and thus precludes claims brought under the Tort Claims Act — National Law Journal>

preclusion \-ˈklü-zhən\ play noun
preclusive \-ˈklü-siv\ play adjective

Seen and Heard

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tending to dismiss important matters

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