pre·​ven·​ta·​tive | \ pri-ˈven-tə-tiv How to pronounce preventative (audio) \

Definition of preventative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: devoted to or concerned with preventing something from happening : preventive entry 1 The best preventative medicine that you can give to your plants is to mulch them.— Ann Whynman Los Angeles County promised to revamp its system, gradually reducing the use of expensive inpatient hospitals through more preventative care at outpatient clinics.— Jonathan Cohn


plural preventatives

Definition of preventative (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that serves to prevent something from occurring : preventive entry 2 We've got the live vaccinia virus vaccine as a preventative for smallpox …— D. A. Henderson et al. Green onions are a mosquito preventative.— Garrison Keillor

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Synonyms for preventative

Synonyms: Adjective

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Examples of preventative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Also this year, Everlywell closed more than 100 deals with workplaces, universities, clinics and government offices to provide preventative care, clinical research, and workforce testing. Dallas News, "Health technology firm started by Dallas native lands $175 million investment to expand," 3 Dec. 2020 There will be a strong emphasis on preventative care and early intervention. Emily Woodruff,, "Ochsner to spend $100M on clinics aimed at improving Louisiana's dismal health ranking," 13 Nov. 2020 Purple hair care is not preventative, in other words. Amber Katz, Better Homes & Gardens, "I Tested Products That Keep Your Hair from Turning Brassy, and These Are the Best," 23 Sep. 2020 Biden charged that Trump is seeking to undermine the protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the ACA, as well as its provisions covering preventative care for women. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "2nd in Senate GOP says go slow on court," 21 Sep. 2020 Biden is expected to charge Trump is seeking to undermine the protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the ACA, as well as its provisions covering preventative care for women. Alexandra Jaffe, Star Tribune, "Biden to focus on health care in Supreme Court debate," 20 Sep. 2020 Harvard public health school dean Michelle Williams imagined a future of better preventative health care. Andrew Nusca, Fortune, "What you missed at Fortune’s first-ever virtual Brainstorm Health conference," 10 July 2020 Former staff with qualms about Project Chimps say insufficient preventative cardiac care there is tantamount to neglect. Greg Kahn, National Geographic, "Sanctuary for retired lab chimps embroiled in dispute over quality of its care," 8 July 2020 Those mice had received the experimental, preventative COVID-19 treatment made by Arizona biotech company Sotira, where Gottschalk works as a principal scientist. Amanda Morris, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona company tests possible short-term COVID-19 vaccine alternative," 5 Dec. 2020

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


1655, in the meaning defined above


1651, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for preventative

Time Traveler

The first known use of preventative was in 1651

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Statistics for preventative

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Preventative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for preventative


adjective or noun
pre·​ven·​ta·​tive | \ pri-ˈvent-ət-iv How to pronounce preventative (audio) \

Medical Definition of preventative

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Nglish: Translation of preventative for Spanish Speakers

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