pre·​emp·​tive | \ prē-ˈem(p)-tiv How to pronounce preemptive (audio) \

Definition of preemptive

1a : of or relating to preemption
b : having power to preempt
2 of a bid in bridge : higher than necessary and intended to shut out bids by the opponents
3 : giving a stockholder first option to purchase new stock in an amount proportionate to his existing holdings
4 : marked by the seizing of the initiative : initiated by oneself a preemptive attack

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Other Words from preemptive

preemptively adverb

Examples of preemptive in a Sentence

The country took preemptive action against the perceived enemy. a preemptive attack by the army
Recent Examples on the Web This preemptive narrowing of the credit box excludes people who might be able to qualify. NBC News, "Why it's suddenly more difficult to get a mortgage," 1 Apr. 2020 As of Monday, 16 people are believed to have died from COVID-19 in Oregon, and more than 600 people have preemptive positive test results. oregonlive, "Coronavirus in Oregon: TriMet says one operator in Beaverton bus facility has coronavirus," 31 Mar. 2020 Analysts said unlike that rescue in the fall, Monday's announcement was preemptive in nature, aimed at avoiding a similar surge in borrowing costs. Matt Egan, CNN, "NY Fed pumps at least $50 billion more into the financial system to ease coronavirus stress," 9 Mar. 2020 Looking ahead to Trump's defense House managers were preemptive in their arguments on Friday, anticipating what Trump's defense team will likely discuss when their opening arguments begin on Saturday. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "'Next time, it just may be you': Takeaways from Democrats' last day of arguments in Trump impeachment trial," 26 Jan. 2020 The speculation that the fight may be postponed has led some businesses tied to the event to take preemptive steps. Lance Pugmire,, "Nevada regulations point toward possible suspension that could cancel Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch," 29 Mar. 2018 The global push for social distancing, self-isolation and self-quarantine is a preemptive effort to prevent overwhelming healthcare systems. Adrienne Dunn, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Were elderly Italians left to die? And is socialized health care to blame?," 20 Mar. 2020 Not just for a day or two, but potentially for weeks, if COVID-19 concerns shut down offices or authorities announce a preemptive lockdown. Dallas News, "Could working from home become the new normal?," 19 Mar. 2020 But its preemptive move underlines policy makers' concern at how quickly the virus is shutting down key sectors of the American economy, including travel and sports. CBS News, "Fed slashes interest rates to near zero to prop up economy during coronavirus pandemic," 15 Mar. 2020

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

1855, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for preemptive

Time Traveler

The first known use of preemptive was in 1855

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Last Updated

27 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preemptive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce preemptive (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preemptive

: done to stop an unwanted act by another group, country, etc., from happening


pre·​emp·​tive | \ prē-ˈemp-tiv How to pronounce preemptive (audio) \

Legal Definition of preemptive

: of or relating to preemption

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More from Merriam-Webster on preemptive

Spanish Central: Translation of preemptive

Nglish: Translation of preemptive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preemptive for Arabic Speakers

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