ob·​vi·​ate | \ ˈäb-vē-ˌāt How to pronounce obviate (audio) \
obviated; obviating

Definition of obviate

transitive verb

: to anticipate and prevent (something, such as a situation) or make (an action) unnecessary The new medical treatment obviates the need for surgery.

Other Words from obviate

obviation \ ˌäb-​vē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce obviate (audio) \ noun

Did you know?

Obviate derives from the Late Latin obviare (meaning "to meet or withstand") and the Latin obviam (meaning "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.

Examples of obviate in a Sentence

The new medical treatment obviates the need for surgery. The new treatment obviates many of the risks associated with surgery.
Recent Examples on the Web In many ways, cryptocurrencies were invented to obviate the need for banks. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, 4 Jan. 2022 The shows, especially coming weeks after the group’s official appearances as cultural ambassadors for South Korea, seemed to obviate any lingering questions about their authenticity. Lenika Cruz, The Atlantic, 16 Dec. 2021 Perhaps the most all-encompassing solution is to obviate the need for human drivers all told. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 That, Caplan said, won’t obviate the challenges inherent in meshing together two cultures. Matthew Herper, STAT, 10 Dec. 2021 Recission of the transaction within the same tax year may obviate any income tax consequences of the transfer. Martin Shenkman, Forbes, 1 Nov. 2021 Yet, they still cannot be said to obviate the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Nov. 2021 Raising vaccination rates, scientists said, would obviate the need for many of the costly antibody treatments in the first place. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 19 Sep. 2021 That this is leading to a punchline about autoerotic asphyxiation does not obviate its profundity. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of obviate

1567, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obviate

Late Latin obviatus, past participle of obviare to meet, withstand, from Latin obviam

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Time Traveler for obviate

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The first known use of obviate was in 1567

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obviate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obviate. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for obviate



English Language Learners Definition of obviate

: to make (something) no longer necessary : to prevent or avoid (something)

More from Merriam-Webster on obviate

Nglish: Translation of obviate for Spanish Speakers


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