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

Definition of preventative

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Examples of preventative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An intelligence memo warning of a possible attack had circulated 10 days earlier, raising questions about whether more preventative measures could have been taken. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "2019 in Review Fast Facts," 21 Nov. 2019 At least 30 people have been treated with antibiotics as a preventative measure. oregonlive, "Portland teen’s cancer detection project wins national prize; rural district wants 2020 bond, won’t say what it’s for: The week in education," 2 Nov. 2019 An environmental control spokeswoman said Frontier installed preventative measures, so the agency closed the matter. USA TODAY, "Pumpkin boat, foie gras ban, library raccoons: News from around our 50 states," 31 Oct. 2019 As numbers crossing the sea fell, largely thanks to preventative measures imposed by the E.U. and its member states, the deadliness of the journey increased. Billy Perrigo, Time, "The Far Right Lost Power in Italy Two Months Ago. So Why Are Migrant Rescue Boats Still Being Refused Entry?," 29 Oct. 2019 However, most analysts say the decision will not benefit violent criminals as judges have already issued preventative detentions in their cases, meaning a sentence is not required to jail them. Washington Post, "AP Explains: Brazil court ruling may free ex-leader Da Silva," 8 Nov. 2019 The diocese of Pueblo and Colorado Springs must take these preventative steps as well. The Denver Post Editorial Board, The Denver Post, "Editorial: After decades of hiding clergy abuse, Colorado diocese must take extraordinary precautions," 6 Nov. 2019 Due to the unexpected illness, the boy's parents and two brothers were taken to a hospital in Sardinia where they were quarantined as a preventative method, according to the L'Union Sarda newspaper. Fox News, "Boy, 12, dies on family cruise in Mediterranean, parents quarantined," 26 Oct. 2019 The health department also plans to increase the number of North Hartford residents being referred to health and preventative care programs by working closely with community health workers and pharmacists. Rebecca Lurye,, "New health initiative in North Hartford part of ongoing work to improve quality of life in neighborhoods," 4 Oct. 2019

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

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Time Traveler for preventative

Time Traveler

The first known use of preventative was in 1655

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Statistics for preventative

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Preventative.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on preventative

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for preventative

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preventative

Spanish Central: Translation of preventative

Nglish: Translation of preventative for Spanish Speakers

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very cautious or careful

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