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

Efforts in the wolf plan to evaluate depredations and prevent them fail to meet the Governor’s expectations for ensuring the health of the wolf population while also meeting the needs of the ranching community. oregonlive.com, "Governor, environmental groups rip Oregon’s new wolf plan," 8 June 2019 The Trump Administration blacklisted the Chinese technology giant in a policy move that will prevent it from buying semiconductors, software and other components from American suppliers. Derek Wallbank, Fortune, "Google Tells Trump Administration Its Proposed Huawei Ban Could Compromise Security," 7 June 2019 If using your current assets tagged for retirement to make the purchase, and using future work income to pay for the renovations will prevent you from getting to your magic number, then don’t buy the house. Peter Dunn, USA TODAY, "Pete the Planner: Before buying your parents' house, calculate its effect on retirement," 7 June 2019 Vallejo is arguing in its motion that should DeCarlo be found guilty in his criminal case that would prevent him from seeking damages in his civil suit. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, "Vallejo seeks to delay federal lawsuit case against police officers," 6 June 2019 The Oconomowoc native enlisted in the Navy because his colorblindness prevented him from becoming a pilot. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "On 75th anniversary of invasion, D-Day veterans recall 'all hell was breaking loose'," 6 June 2019 Police parked one cruiser in front of the car to prevent it from moving forward and another cruiser behind the car. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Street fight between couples attracts attention; drunk man passes out behind steering wheel: Berea Police Blotter," 6 June 2019 The only way for pig producers to prevent it is to kill all animals that have been infected or potentially exposed, or to put strict biosecurity measures in place. Vox Staff, Vox, "“Pig Ebola” is spreading uncontrollably in China and Vietnam," 6 June 2019 But the great thing about having multiple options in today’s streaming marketplace is that no one can prevent you from using five free trials to get you from kick-off this Friday to the final match on July 7. Caitlin Kelly, WIRED, "How to Stream the 2019 World Cup for Free," 6 June 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

12 Jun 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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