fore·​stall | \ fȯr-ˈstȯl How to pronounce forestall (audio) \
forestalled; forestalling; forestalls

Definition of forestall

transitive verb

1 : to prevent the normal trading in by buying or diverting goods or by persuading persons to raise prices forestalling the wheat harvest and selling it at three times its cost— G. B. Shaw
2 archaic : intercept
3 obsolete : obstruct, beset
4 : to exclude, hinder, or prevent by prior occupation or measures Negotiations failed to forestall the conflict.
5 : to get ahead of : anticipate detailed explanations intended to forestall questions

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Other Words from forestall

forestaller noun
forestallment \ fȯr-​ˈstȯl-​mənt How to pronounce forestallment (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for forestall

prevent, anticipate, forestall mean to deal with beforehand. prevent implies taking advance measures against something possible or probable. measures taken to prevent leaks anticipate may imply merely getting ahead of another by being a precursor or forerunner or it may imply checking another's intention by acting first. anticipated the question by making a statement forestall implies a getting ahead so as to stop or interrupt something in its course. hoped to forestall the sale

Examples of forestall in a Sentence

Negotiations failed to forestall the conflict. His comments were meant to forestall criticism of his proposal. He forestalled critics by offering a defense of the project.
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Recent Examples on the Web

To forestall imminent budget crisis, party leaders agreed to pile on to the nation’s $1 trillion deficit by adding another $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade. Rebecca U. Thorpe, The Conversation, "One budget line Congress can agree on: Spending billions on the US military," 14 Aug. 2019 The Fed hasn't dropped its benchmark rate in more than a decade, and as recently as mid-December officials hiked interest rates to forestall a possible overheating in the U.S. economy. Don Lee,, "Federal Reserve, for now, holds key interest rate steady despite pressure from Trump," 19 June 2019 This forestalled shortages and prevented price fluctuations. The Economist, "The murky world of Madagascar’s roaring vanilla trade," 5 July 2019 The basic intent of the tree replacement requirement in the ordinance is to forestall what the county has identified as a dwindling countywide tree canopy. Nick Sortal,, "Reasons behind tree rules | Opinion," 20 June 2019 The aim is to forestall and defuse national security risks more effectively, Xinhua said, adding that detailed measures would be unveiled in the near future. Washington Post, "China may restrict tech access in spiraling US trade dispute," 9 June 2019 The commission says the aim of the short-term tax proposal is to forestall a patchwork of different legislation within the bloc, as some national governments, including Italy, are already pressing ahead with their own rules. Sam Schechner, WSJ, "Tech Giants Face Hundreds of Millions in New Taxes in Europe," 21 Mar. 2018 Many think that a political settlement with protesters is the junta’s best hope of gaining legitimacy and forestalling a civil war. The Economist, "A struggle for power in Sudan could lead to civil war," 14 June 2019 That makes Wednesday’s meeting at Portland State critical, because action at that meeting could forestall additional scrutiny by the commission., "Portland State to reconsider tuition increase after amped-up higher ed budget clears legislative committee," 11 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'forestall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of forestall

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for forestall

Middle English, from forstall act of waylaying, from Old English foresteall, from fore- + steall position, stall

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Statistics for forestall

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for forestall

The first known use of forestall was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for forestall



English Language Learners Definition of forestall

: to stop (something) from happening or to cause (something) to happen at a later time
: to act before (someone else) in order to prevent something


fore·​stall | \ fȯr-ˈstȯl How to pronounce forestall (audio) \
forestalled; forestalling

Kids Definition of forestall

: to keep out, interfere with, or prevent by steps taken in advance forestalling problems

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Comments on forestall

What made you want to look up forestall? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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