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

Rutherford police will attend Wednesday's graduation as a precaution. Fox News, "Police: Student stabs principal during graduation rehearsal," 15 June 2019 Health officials in Oakland County are urging residents to take precautions against West Nile virus after it was recently found in a sample of mosquitoes in Pontiac. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "West Nile virus found in sample of mosquitoes in Pontiac," 14 June 2019 Authorities said police officers will be attending the school's graduation on Wednesday as a precaution. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "A New Jersey teen was arrested after he stabbed his middle school principal, police say," 14 June 2019 Many at the front opened up colorful umbrellas as a precaution against tear gas, water cannons, and pepper spray. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "Occupy 2.0 is beginning in Hong Kong," 12 June 2019 After jamming his left knee into the turf while making a catch on a pop-up in his Coors Field debut Tuesday night, rookie right-hander Peter Lambert had the knee iced in the Colorado clubhouse on Wednesday morning as a precaution. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Chris Rusin assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque after clearing waivers and more Rockies updates," 12 June 2019 Russia has run a budget surplus as a precaution against future sanctions and used its oil supply as a safeguard. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Putin Aims to Revive the Economy With a Plan. And Pianos.," 5 June 2019 In Southern California, people who worried days earlier that their homes might be consumed by flames were taking precautions against possible mudslides caused by the approaching storm. Kathleen Ronayne, The Seattle Times, "Light rain falling in N California could hurt search effort," 21 Nov. 2018 As a precaution against the possibility of further slides, officials have ordered residents in most of the southeastern corner of Montecito to leave their homes for what was likely to be one or two weeks. Author: Caroline Anderson, Anchorage Daily News, "At least 20 dead in California mudslides, major highway closed," 15 Jan. 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

19 Jun 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).


having a desire to acquire more things

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