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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Studio City, California home that appears to be the exterior of Jenner’s residence is actually not her house, which was done as a safety precaution. Mary Elizabeth Andriotis, House Beautiful, "The 10 Best Houses of Reality TV," 12 Feb. 2021 The process, which is not required, is viewed as a safety precaution to get in front of any legal challenges into the gathering of evidence. Joe Guillen, Detroit Free Press, "Rick Snyder, other Flint defendants begin to fight new charges," 2 Feb. 2021 The parade, which typically jams the sidewalks with hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Southern California city, was shut down in July as a safety precaution during the coronavirus pandemic. Chronicle Staff,, "Coronavirus updates from the Bay Area: Dec. 31-Jan. 6," 14 Jan. 2021 Initially the government had been holding back second doses as a safety precaution against potential shortfalls in production. Author: Zeke Miller, Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Anchorage Daily News, "US shifts to speed up delivery of COVID-19 vaccines as cases and deaths rise," 12 Jan. 2021 Initially the government had been holding back second doses as a safety precaution against potential shortfalls in production. Zeke Miller And Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Star Tribune, "US shifts to speed COVID shots as cases and deaths rise," 12 Jan. 2021 Churches then switched to online video services and many kept that focus through the end of the year as a safety precaution. al, "Top 10 Religion stories of 2020: Covid disrupts church, Highlands hosts mass testing," 31 Dec. 2020 People are asked not to move beach debris themselves, as a safety precaution. oregonlive, "‘Swollen, gelatinous bags’ of chia seeds wash up on Oregon coast," 23 Dec. 2020 On the traditional day of savings, shoppers at Altamonte Mall lined up to get into stores such as Hot Topic and Bath & Body Works as some businesses in the mall restricted the number of people inside as a safety precaution. Austin Fuller,, "Black Friday gets bleaker as fewer shoppers take to Central Florida malls, stores," 27 Nov. 2020

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

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Precaution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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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

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