prevent

verb
pre·​vent | \ pri-ˈvent How to pronounce prevent (audio) \
prevented; preventing; prevents

Definition of prevent

transitive verb

1 : to keep from happening or existing steps to prevent war
2 : to hold or keep back : hinder, stop often used with from
3 : to deprive of power or hope of acting or succeeding

4 archaic

a : to be in readiness for (something, such as an occasion)
b : to meet or satisfy in advance
c : to act ahead of
d : to go or arrive before

intransitive verb

: to interpose an obstacle

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Other Words from prevent

preventability \ pri-​ˌven-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce preventability (audio) \ noun
preventable or less commonly preventible \ pri-​ˈven-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce preventible (audio) \ adjective
preventer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for prevent

prevent, anticipate, forestall mean to deal with beforehand. prevent implies taking advance measures against something possible or probable. measures taken to prevent leaks anticipate may imply merely getting ahead of another by being a precursor or forerunner or it may imply checking another's intention by acting first. anticipated the question by making a statement forestall implies a getting ahead so as to stop or interrupt something in its course. hoped to forestall the sale

Examples of prevent in a Sentence

Seatbelts in cars often prevent serious injuries. Can exercise and a healthy diet prevent heart disease? The accident could have been prevented. He grabbed my arm to prevent me from falling. Bad weather prevented us from leaving. How are you going to prevent him from finding out about the party?
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Recent Examples on the Web

This can help prevent mold and mildew, prolonging the life of your mat. Jessica Toscano, SELF, "Here's How Often You Should Really Clean Your Yoga Mat," 12 Apr. 2019 This will help to prevent any vaginal issues, such as yeast infections, vaginal irritation, and bacterial vaginosis. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Here’s Why You Might Want to Sleep Without Underwear," 2 Apr. 2019 According to Lau and Casanova, even the tiniest amount of breast tissue will eventually stretch and sag, and a well-fit bra can help prevent that. Glamour, "I'm as Flat as They Come, and I've Finally Figured Out How to Shop for Bras," 27 Mar. 2019 Produce is rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent damage to hair cells in the inner ear. Meghan Rabbitt, Woman's Day, "How To Recapture Peace and Quiet In a Noisy World," 27 Mar. 2019 This mode will discharge the battery and prevent it from being recharged until the battery is replaced. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "HP recalls 78,500 more laptop batteries because of fire concerns," 13 Mar. 2019 While there are no surefire ways to prevent these kinds of infections, the verdict is clear: Wiping front-to-back is an easy precaution that’s very much worth taking. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Here’s Why You Should Always Wipe Front-to-Back," 9 Mar. 2019 Finding a way to prevent these flies from biting has a very strong evolutionary advantage for zebras. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Dressed Horses as Zebras to Learn What Stripes Are For," 25 Feb. 2019 Jorge Antonio Guerrero, the actor behind Fermín in the film, reportedly had his visa application denied three separate times, preventing him from participating in press events and attending shows like the Golden Globes. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "What you should know about the debate before the Academy Awards.," 22 Feb. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4c

History and Etymology for prevent

Middle English, to anticipate, from Latin praeventus, past participle of praevenire to come before, anticipate, forestall, from prae- + venire to come — more at come

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Statistics for prevent

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prevent

The first known use of prevent was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for prevent

prevent

verb

English Language Learners Definition of prevent

: to stop (something) from happening or existing
: to make (someone or something) not do something : to stop (someone or something) from doing something

prevent

verb
pre·​vent | \ pri-ˈvent How to pronounce prevent (audio) \
prevented; preventing

Kids Definition of prevent

1 : to keep from happening Helmets help to prevent injuries.
2 : to hold or keep back Bad weather prevented us from leaving.

Other Words from prevent

preventable \ pri-​ˈven-​tə-​bəl \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on prevent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prevent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prevent

Spanish Central: Translation of prevent

Nglish: Translation of prevent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prevent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prevent

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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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