preempt

verb pre·empt \ prē-ˈem(p)t \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

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
3 : 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
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

preemptor

play \prē-ˈem(p)-tər\ noun

Examples of preempt in a Sentence

  1. The contract preempts lawsuits by the company's clients.

  2. The state law was preempted by a federal law.

  3. The President's speech preempted regular programming.

Recent Examples of preempt from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of preempt

back-formation from preemption


PREEMPT Defined for English Language Learners

preempt

verb

Definition of preempt for English Language Learners

  • : to prevent (something) from happening

  • : to take the place of (something)

  • : to be shown instead of (another television program)


Law Dictionary

preempt

transitive verb pre·empt \ prē-ˈempt \

legal Definition of preempt

1 a : 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 markets
  • Mesa Springs Enterprises v. Cutco Indus., 736 P.2d 1251 (1986)
2 a : to replace or supersede (a law) by preemption
  • such state laws are not preempted by the federal Energy Reorganization Act of 1974
  • National Law Journal
b : to preclude or bar (an action) by preemption
  • federal airline deregulation does not preempt claims under state contract law
  • National Law Journal


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