noun \-ˈem(p)-shən\

Definition of PREEMPTION

a :  the right of purchasing before others; especially :  one given by the government to the actual settler upon a tract of public land
b :  the purchase of something under this right
:  a prior seizure or appropriation :  a taking possession before others
:  a doctrine in law according to which federal law supersedes state law when federal law is in conflict with a state law
:  a policy of launching a preemptive attack in order to prevent a suspected imminent attack

Examples of PREEMPTION

  1. <longtime residents resented the preemption of their urban neighborhood by this influx of affluent yuppies>


Medieval Latin praeemption-, praeemptio previous purchase, from praeemere to buy before, from Latin prae- pre- + emere to buy — more at redeem
First Known Use: 1602


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

U.S. policy that allowed the first settlers, or squatters, on public land to buy the land they had improved. Since improved land, coveted by speculators, was often priced too high for squatters to buy at auction, temporary preemptive laws allowed them to acquire it without bidding. The Pre-Emption Act (1841) gave squatters the right to buy 160 acres at $1.25 per acre before the land was auctioned. The Homestead Act (1862) made preemption an accepted part of U.S. land policy. See also Homestead Movement.


Next Word in the Dictionary: preemptioner
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