pre·​clude | \ pri-ˈklüd How to pronounce preclude (audio) \
precluded; precluding

Definition of preclude

transitive verb

1 : to make impossible by necessary consequence : rule out in advance
2 archaic : close

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Other Words from preclude

preclusion \ pri-​ˈklü-​zhən How to pronounce preclusion (audio) \ noun
preclusive \ pri-​ˈklü-​siv How to pronounce preclusive (audio) , -​ziv \ adjective
preclusively adverb

Preclude Uses Within and Outside Law

Preclude is often used in legal writing, where it usually refers to making something legally impossible. A new law may be passed by Congress to preclude any suits of a certain kind against a federal agency, for example. Some judges have found that the warnings on cigarette packs preclude any suits against the tobacco companies by lung-cancer sufferers. But there are plenty of nonlegal uses as well. Bad weather often precludes trips to the beach, and a lack of cash might preclude any beach vacation at all.

Examples of preclude in a Sentence

I fear these things, but vaguely, for my brain buzzes in the merciful wash of endorphins that preclude any thought from occupying it too long. — Louise Erdrich, Harper's, May 1993 … the institution [of slavery] in the United States was almost uniquely despotic, a closed system so powerful and totalitarian that organized insurrection was almost entirely precluded … — William Styron, American Heritage, October 1992 But conceptual blinders can preclude observation, while most accurate generalities guarantee no proper resolution of specific anatomies, but can certainly guide perceptions along fruitful paths. — Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, 1989 … the same profusion of water that precluded overland travel in the summer months could, during the sledgehammer freeze of winter, be utilized as a natural highway—albeit a highway of ice. — Jon Krakauer, Smithsonian, November 1987 She suffered an injury that precluded the possibility of an athletic career. Bad weather precluded any further attempts to reach the summit.
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Recent Examples on the Web In March, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance clearing the way for workplace temperature checks, which previously were often precluded by employment laws. Tom Simonite, Wired, "Infrared Cameras Can Spot a Fever, but May Not Slow Covid-19," 11 May 2020 Athletes are not precluded from leaving at any time, even in the middle of a season or semester. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball mailbag: How NCAA can handle new NBA G League threat," 21 Apr. 2020 While active duty personnel are appropriately precluded from conducting law enforcement by the Posse Comitatus laws, the National Guard (when under the direction of state governors) can do so. James Stavridis, Time, "Navy Hospital Ships Will Be Used in the Fight Against COVID-19. But There's Much More the Military Can Do in This Crisis," 23 Mar. 2020 Burton was precluded from possessing a firearm at that time due to his prior robbery conviction. Madeline Mitchell,, "Westwood man identified by officers across the Tristate after iPhones stolen from Hebron AT&T," 27 Feb. 2020 The company was precluded from presenting a meaningful defense due to the court's exclusion of key evidence. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "Judge slashes $8 billion Risperdal award against J&J to $6.8 million," 17 Jan. 2020 The order does not preclude the judge from holding hearings by telephone or video. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "Ohio Supreme Court orders Medina County judge to stop holding all in-person, non-emergency hearings during coronavirus pandemic," 16 Apr. 2020 Drake’s acceptance of the transition tender doesn’t preclude the Cardinals from working out a long-term contract with the running back. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Arizona Cardinals ready for a full season of Kenyan Drake," 11 Apr. 2020 But as in any healthy family, respect does not preclude criticism on matters of substance. Francis X. Maier, National Review, "Pope Francis’s Respectful Critics Deserve Better Than Scorn," 20 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preclude.' 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 preclude

circa 1513, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for preclude

Latin praecludere, from prae- + claudere to close — more at close entry 1

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Time Traveler for preclude

Time Traveler

The first known use of preclude was circa 1513

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Statistics for preclude

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preclude.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for preclude


How to pronounce preclude (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preclude

: to make (something) impossible : to prevent (something) from happening
: to prevent (someone) from doing something
pre·​clude | \ pri-ˈklüd How to pronounce preclude (audio) \
precluded; precluding

Legal Definition of preclude

: to prevent or exclude by necessary consequence: as
a : to prevent (a party) from litigating an action or claim especially by collateral estoppel or res judicata they are precluded only because they failed to assert…the grounds for recovery they now assertRoach v. Teamsters Local Union No. 688, 595 F.2d 446 (1979)
b : to prevent (a claim or action) from being litigated especially by collateral estoppel or res judicata the Civil Service Reform Act provides the exclusive address for adverse federal employment actions and thus precludes claims brought under the Tort Claims ActNational Law Journal

Other Words from preclude

preclusion \ -​ˈklü-​zhən How to pronounce preclusion (audio) \ noun
preclusive \ -​ˈklü-​siv How to pronounce preclusive (audio) \ adjective

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