pre·​cau·​tion | \ pri-ˈkȯ-shən How to pronounce precaution (audio) \

Definition of precaution

1 : care taken in advance : foresight warned of the need for precaution
2 : a measure taken beforehand to prevent harm or secure good : safeguard take the necessary precautions

Other Words from precaution

precautionary \ pri-​ˈkȯ-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce precaution (audio) \ adjective

Examples of precaution in a Sentence

Be sure to follow the usual safety precautions when cooking outdoors. When driving, she always wears her seatbelt as a precaution. Every home owner should take precautions against fire. She took the precaution of packing extra medicine for the trip.
Recent Examples on the Web Lin-Manuel Miranda is taking extra precaution after his wife tested positive for COVID-19 following their arrival in Hollywood. Shafiq Najib,, 26 Mar. 2022 Michelle Caruso said her daughter’s preschool in Livermore seemingly took every imaginable precaution to gird against the virus, from requiring children to wear masks outside to mandating drive-by pick-ups and drop-offs. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Jan. 2022 Despite taking extreme precaution when removing the egg, the experts inadvertently cracked it. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Dec. 2021 Though millions of Americans have since been vaccinated and boosted, reducing the severity of a COVID-19 diagnosis, live touring promotions are taking every precaution in anticipation of a grim winter amid the sudden arrival of Omicron. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, 23 Dec. 2021 The risk of bruising is very low, but every precaution is taken. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 20 Dec. 2021 Taking precaution against house fires begins as soon as picking which Christmas tree to buy. McKelvey said when shopping for trees, people should run their hands through the tree to see if any needles fall off. Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY, 28 Nov. 2021 We’re both masked because despite vaccination requirements, Gucci is taking every precaution, especially with its creative capital. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2021 O'Connor, who has a compromised immune system and was taking extra precaution during the lockdown, cleared out a bookshelf in a closet to grow his own microgreens and would drop them off for friends in the area. Hilary Weaver, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of precaution

1599, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for precaution

French précaution, from Late Latin praecaution-, praecautio, from Latin praecavēre to guard against, from prae- + cavēre to be on one's guard — more at hear

Learn More About precaution

Time Traveler for precaution

Time Traveler

The first known use of precaution was in 1599

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near precaution

precatory words



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for precaution

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Precaution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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

More Definitions for precaution


pre·​cau·​tion | \ pri-ˈkȯ-shən How to pronounce precaution (audio) \

Kids Definition of precaution

: something done beforehand to prevent harm or trouble or bring about good results You should take precautions against fire.

More from Merriam-Webster on precaution

Nglish: Translation of precaution for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precaution for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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