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

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Other Words from precaution

precautionary \ pri-​ˈkȯ-​shə-​ˌner-​ē How to pronounce precautionary (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Disposing of them sometimes entails large-scale evacuations as a precaution. Washington Post, "World War II bomb defused in Germany after mass evacuation," 12 Jan. 2020 After police got information that Evans might be in Birmingham, VA locations in that city were on lockdown as a precaution. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Huntsville murder suspect dead; Birmingham VA reopens," 10 Jan. 2020 Popovich held him out of a first-round playoff series against Phoenix as a precaution. Jeff Mcdonald,, "Spurs’ Gregg Popovich declines load management title," 9 Jan. 2020 The incident occurred at North 68th and West Wright streets at about 4:40 p.m. All three boys were uninjured — minus some scrapes and bruises — but one boy was taken to the hospital by his parents as a precaution. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Three fifth-graders were struck in a hit-and-run as they crossed a busy Wauwatosa intersection," 7 Jan. 2020 Several states and cities have imposed bans, mainly on flavored e-cigarettes as a precaution. Knvul Sheikh, New York Times, "What We Learned in 2019: Health and Medicine," 26 Dec. 2019 Accuweather All of Greater Cincinnati is under a wind advisory, so take extra precaution when traveling. Sarah Brookbank,, "Cincinnati weather: Wind Advisory in effect, temperatures will drop before Thanksgiving," 27 Nov. 2019 Officers were told there was a chance the child’s mother had picked up the boy, but, as a precaution, a search was launched. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hour-long search for 4-year-old boy ends after child found with his mother," 20 Oct. 2019 Although drowning seems to be more common among young children, teenage and adult swimmers also must take precaution when near bodies of water. Baylor College Of Medicine, Houston Chronicle, "Baylor College of Medicine provides water safety guidelines to prevent drowning," 11 July 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for precaution

Time Traveler

The first known use of precaution was in 1599

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Statistics for precaution

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Precaution.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for precaution


How to pronounce precaution (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of precaution

: something that is done to prevent possible harm or trouble from happening in the future


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.

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Comments on precaution

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