obviate

verb
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 The process is called in-ovo sexing, and such technologies, versions of which are already deployed in some countries, can obviate the need for live chick culling. Jonathan Moens, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Mar. 2021 Issue 9 could obviate all of that work, which raises the question of whether that is the real intention. Steven Litt, cleveland, 29 Apr. 2022 The process is called in-ovo sexing, and such technologies, versions of which are already deployed in some countries, can obviate the need for live chick culling. Jonathan Moens, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Mar. 2021 The process is called in-ovo sexing, and such technologies, versions of which are already deployed in some countries, can obviate the need for live chick culling. Jonathan Moens, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Mar. 2021 In the lead-up to its publication, this anti-parasitic drug has been championed in right wing circles, presumably as a way to obviate the need for a coronavirus vaccine. Andy Meek, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 This would obviate any need in the foreseeable future to list on the capital markets in order to better compete for top talent. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 21 Mar. 2022 The Senate—average Member age: 64—has navigated pandemic risks without proxy floor voting, and vaccines obviate whatever public-health rationale once existed. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 20 Mar. 2022 This would benefit everyone, obviate problems and errors that stem from a lack of experience, and could help bring generations together across common goals of creating new and interesting products and services. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About obviate

Time Traveler for obviate

Time Traveler

The first known use of obviate was in 1567

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About obviate

Dictionary Entries Near obviate

obviable

obviate

obviative

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for obviate

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obviate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obviate. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on obviate

Nglish: Translation of obviate for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!