pre·​cau·​tion | \pri-ˈkȯ-shən \

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 \ 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

When registering an account, users must provide their phone numbers and an eight-digit pin code, adding extra precautions like two-factor authentication in order to prevent accounts from being hacked or votes being tampered with. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Nearly 150 West Virginians voted with a mobile blockchain app," 10 Nov. 2018 Experienced travelers may take precautions for petty theft, hotel fires and data security, then have a couple of drinks and get behind the wheel of a rental car in a foreign country. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "Travel Mistakes That Can Land You in the Hospital," 7 Nov. 2018 Those small precautions could make all the difference. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Closing the Bedroom Door at Night Could Save Your Life," 10 Oct. 2018 But the idea of dating on Facebook will spook some people off no matter what privacy precautions Facebook builds. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "It’s not crazy to imagine that Facebook Dating could become a multi-billion dollar business," 20 Sep. 2018 That's likely because there are precautions in place to protect her, and every other royal, from accidentally flashing strangers—or worse, the Queen. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "How Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Keep Their Dresses from Flying Up," 16 Aug. 2018 What precautions were taken to protect the priceless pieces of art from light damage? Olivia Harrison,, "Here's What The Louvre Had To Say About Beyoncé & Jay Z's Music Video," 18 June 2018 Heat indexes push into the danger zone once more today, so take plenty of precautions for outdoor activities, including staying big-time hydrated. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Mid-90s with higher humidity today, but nicer weekend ahead," 3 July 2018 On Day Four of that five-day building blitz of 150 new homes across Canada, Jimmy Carter, then 92, became dehydrated and was briefly hospitalized out of precaution. Jill Vejnoska, ajc, "Happy 72nd wedding anniversary, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!," 3 July 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

20 Nov 2018

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 \

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).


to enclose within walls

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