pre·​empt | \ prē-ˈem(p)t How to pronounce preempt (audio) \
preempted; preempting; preempts

Definition of preempt

transitive verb

1 : to acquire (something, such as land) by preemption
2 : to seize upon to the exclusion of others : take for oneself the movement was then preempted by a lunatic fringe
3a : to replace with something considered to be of greater value or priority : take precedence over the program did not appear, having been preempted by a baseball game— Robert MacNeil
b law : to replace or supersede (a law) or bar (an action) by the doctrine of preemption In so doing, the Court held that Congress did not intend to preempt common law contract claims.Charas v. Trans World Airlines, Inc.
4 : to gain a commanding or preeminent place in
5 : to prevent from happening or taking place : forestall, preclude

intransitive verb

: to make a preemptive bid in bridge

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Other Words from preempt

preemptor \ prē-​ˈem(p)-​tər How to pronounce preemptor (audio) \ noun

Examples of preempt in a Sentence

The contract preempts lawsuits by the company's clients. The state law was preempted by a federal law. The President's speech preempted regular programming.
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Recent Examples on the Web DeSantis said last week Florida will not pull back from phase two relaxations, but would not preempt local governments from imposing restrictions, such as beach closures and mandatory mask orders. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "After celebrating Memorial Day openings, Florida cities closing beaches for July 4," 1 July 2020 Enbridge counters that the pipelines have remained safe for 67 years, and that federal regulators preempt any state safety regulation on the interstate pipelines. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Judge to Enbridge: Keep one Straits pipeline shut down; test the other," 1 July 2020 Goldman told Ars that Section 230 is likely to preempt most of the claims in the lawsuit, allowing YouTube to dispose of it quickly. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Lawsuit by Black YouTubers against YouTube faces “uphill battle”," 25 June 2020 My intention was also to preempt any questions that might be directed to my mother. Cnn Staff, CNN, "Like Riding a Roller Coaster in the Dark: Dr. Sanjay Gupta's coronavirus podcast for June 1," 1 June 2020 Eluding onerous regulations The other motivator is preempting government regulation, which becomes a greater risk during and after a crisis. Steven Kreft, The Conversation, "Why Ford, Chanel and other companies pitch in during a crisis – without the government ordering them to," 22 May 2020 Charter is suing Maine to block a new state law that requires prorated refunds when cable customers cancel service mid-month, claiming that the requirement is a form of rate regulation and is preempted by federal law. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Charter tells court that its no-refund policy helps prevent price increases," 15 May 2020 This may not be the final word, however, because the Chamber of Commerce is lobbying Congress to pass a federal law to preempt CCPA. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "New California Law Giving Consumers Control Over Their Data Sets Off a Scramble," 18 Dec. 2019 House Republicans argue Trump did nothing wrong and released their own 123-page report on Monday to preempt Democrats' accusations. USA TODAY, "Read the full impeachment inquiry report from the House Intelligence Committee," 4 Dec. 2019

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

1850, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for preempt

back-formation from preemption

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Time Traveler for preempt

Time Traveler

The first known use of preempt was in 1850

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Statistics for preempt

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preempt.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for preempt


How to pronounce preempt (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preempt

formal : to prevent (something) from happening
formal : to take the place of (something)
US : to be shown instead of (another television program)
pre·​empt | \ prē-ˈempt How to pronounce preempt (audio) \

Legal Definition of preempt

1a : to acquire (land) by preemption
b : to seize upon to the exclusion of others : take for oneself a senior user of a trademark could not preempt use of the mark in remote geographical marketsMesa Springs Enterprises v. Cutco Indus., 736 P.2d 1251 (1986)
2a : to replace or supersede (a law) by preemption such state laws are not preempted by the federal Energy Reorganization Act of 1974National Law Journal
b : to preclude or bar (an action) by preemption federal airline deregulation does not preempt claims under state contract lawNational Law Journal

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More from Merriam-Webster on preempt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for preempt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preempt

Spanish Central: Translation of preempt

Nglish: Translation of preempt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preempt for Arabic Speakers

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