Definition of obviate
- The new medical treatment obviates the need for surgery.
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
The new medical treatment obviates the need for surgery.
The new treatment obviates many of the risks associated with surgery.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obviate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Obviate derives from Late Latin obviare (meaning "to meet or withstand") and Latin obviam, which means "in the way" and is also an ancestor of our adjective "obvious." "Obviate" has a number of synonyms in English, including "prevent," "preclude," and "avert"; all of these words can mean to hinder or stop something. When you prevent or preclude something, you put up an insurmountable obstacle. In addition, "preclude" often implies that a degree of chance was involved in stopping an event. "Obviate" generally suggests the use of intelligence or forethought to ward off trouble. "Avert" always implies that a bad situation has been anticipated and prevented or deflected by the application of immediate and effective means.
First Known Use: 1567See Words from the same year
: to make (something) no longer necessary : to prevent or avoid (something)
What made you want to look up obviate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ