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

Vector was founded in 1974 and works to develop tools to prevent, treat and diagnose infectious diseases, according to the facility’s website. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Explosion Reported at Russian Lab Carrying Dangerous Viruses Like Ebola and Smallpox," 17 Sep. 2019 This Pineiro kick prevented the Bears from returning home 0-2, something that would have cast a black cloud over a season that began with such high hopes two weeks ago. Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears’ 16-14 win over the Broncos in Week 2," 16 Sep. 2019 What prevents American policymakers from quitting Saudi Arabia? Adam Weinstein, The New Republic, "The Curse of Osama Bin Laden," 16 Sep. 2019 According to the site, Zavala is accused of hitting his wife in the face and taking her phone to prevent her from calling 911. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Former Camp Pendleton battalion commander to face domestic violence charges," 12 Sep. 2019 Caution: Before removing the mower blades, first take out the spark plug to prevent accidental starting. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower Before You Stow It Away," 11 Sep. 2019 The council instead voted unanimously to hold a special housing subcommittee meeting in four to six weeks to discuss what steps can be taken to prevent a similar outcome in the future. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "Evictions, displacements in Hayward apartment complex weigh on council members," 11 Sep. 2019 The Taliban, in turn, would take steps to prevent terrorist plots against the United States emanating from Afghanistan. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Stunt with the Taliban Was Not About Negotiating Peace," 10 Sep. 2019 Companies have come under increasing pressure to take action to prevent gun violence, after a spate of mass shootings in recent weeks, including one inside a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Walgreens asks customers not to openly carry guns in its stores, joining Walmart and Kroger," 5 Sep. 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

16 Oct 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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