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

Prince Philip didn't suffer any injuries during last month's road traffic accident, but he was taken to hospital as a precaution. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Philip Will Surrender His Driving License Following Road Traffic Accident," 9 Feb. 2019 Brian Butler, project manager with the Department of General Services, which is overseeing the demolition, said the city is taking every precaution to ensure the safety of residents at D.C. General. Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, "Lawmaker calls for delaying demolition near D.C. General until shelter residents are out," 9 July 2018 The goal, said head coach Steve Wilks, is to take every precaution necessary to give Bradford the best possible chance to play all 16 regular-season games. Kent Somers, USA TODAY, "Cardinals training camp questions: Can Sam Bradford stay healthy, hold down starting job?," 27 June 2018 Rivera said Turner's knee was just sore, and holding him out is a precaution through voluntary workouts. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Turners and returners, a 60-yard field goal, plus more Panthers OTAs observations," 4 June 2018 The biggest risks with this system, Bettes said, will likely be flooding, rain and rip currents, so anyone heading outdoors or hitting the road during the holiday weekend should take special precaution. Chelsea Brasted,, "It's not hurricane season yet, but the Gulf is already active. How unusual is that?," 24 May 2018 Plant workers last week as a precaution removed 50,000 gallons of a flammable gas (pentane) stored at the site. CBS News, "New lava fissure opens as Hawaii awaits explosive eruption," 13 May 2018 The rebels had crawled upon the place during the night, the federals thinking the enemy had retreated and not taking the precaution to put outposts on guard., "May 9, 1911: Tijuana falls to rebels," 9 May 2018 The goal, coach Steve Wilks said, is to take every precaution necessary to give Bradford the best possible chance to play all 16 regular-season games. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals' big questions loom as minicamps and OTAs continue," 9 May 2018

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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Statistics for precaution

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for precaution

The first known use of precaution was in 1599

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More Definitions for precaution



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

What made you want to look up precaution? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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