preventive

adjective
pre·​ven·​tive | \ pri-ˈven-tiv How to pronounce preventive (audio) \

Definition of preventive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: devoted to or concerned with prevention : precautionary preventive steps against soil erosion : such as
a : designed or serving to prevent the occurrence of disease preventive medical care
b : undertaken to forestall anticipated hostile action a preventive coup

preventive

noun

Definition of preventive (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that prevents especially : something used to prevent disease

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from preventive

Adjective

preventively adverb
preventiveness noun

Synonyms for preventive

Synonyms: Adjective

precautionary, preventative, prophylactic

Synonyms: Noun

caution, fail-safe, palladium, precaution, safeguard

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of preventive in a Sentence

Adjective

Farmers are covering their crops as a preventive measure against frost. We'll take whatever preventive action is necessary.

Noun

if people took the simple preventive of frequently washing their hands, the spread of germs could be greatly reduced
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Studies of the drug as a preventive for Parkinson’s disease are set for later this year, with additional research looking into its effect in reducing heart failure being eyed for some time in the future. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Can a single pill keep you healthy to 100?," 10 July 2019 Spraying will be futile: Fungicides only work as a preventive, and only when they are applied in early spring. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Wet spring may have hurt some plants, but yards should be drying out now. And it might be time to .... water.," 10 July 2019 Since neither of Royal Oak’s two pet stores currently sell any of the animals listed in the ordinance, the measure was preventive on the city’s part. Emma Keith, Detroit Free Press, "Royal Oak pet stores banned from selling dogs, cats: Here's why," 3 July 2019 Ollanta Humala, Peru’s President from 2011 to 2016, and his wife, Nadine Heredia, spent nine months in preventive prison. Daniel Alarcón, The New Yorker, "What Led Peru’s Former President to Take His Own Life?," 1 July 2019 The division also cited the center for not regularly inspecting and repairing the animal enclosure and said the center must maintain a preventive maintenance program to ensure that the animal enclosures function properly. Amanda Morris, BostonGlobe.com, "Fatal lion attack nets 3 ‘serious’ violations for North Carolina center," 29 June 2019 Getting screened for the potential for Major Depressive Disorder at the start of school has been shown to be a promising strategy for identifying students who may be at risk, and can improve targeted preventive interventions. Jon Patrick Hatcher, Good Housekeeping, "College Depression and Anxiety Are Serious — Here's How to Help Yourself or a Friend," 26 June 2019 State law requires that the School Facilities Board inspect all district school buildings once every five years for building deficiencies and conduct preventive maintenance inspections at 20 randomly selected districts every 30 months. USA TODAY, "Whiskey webs, alien abductions, goldfish invasion: News from around our 50 states," 25 June 2019 Advocates say access to health care is an important preventive tool that can avoid serious issues down the road. Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, "A year later, lawmakers taking $56 million from feds for child care," 24 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preventive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of preventive

Adjective

circa 1626, in the meaning defined above

Noun

circa 1639, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preventive

Statistics for preventive

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preventive

The first known use of preventive was circa 1626

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preventive

preventive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of preventive

: used to stop something bad from happening

preventive

adjective
pre·​ven·​tive | \ prē-ˈven-tiv How to pronounce preventive (audio) \

Kids Definition of preventive

: used for keeping something from happening

preventive

noun
pre·​ven·​tive | \ -ˈvent-iv How to pronounce preventive (audio) \

Medical Definition of preventive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something (as a drug) used to prevent disease

preventive

adjective

Medical Definition of preventive (Entry 2 of 2)

: devoted to or concerned with the prevention of disease preventive drug therapy preventive psychiatry

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on preventive

What made you want to look up preventive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!