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



Definition of preventive (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that prevents especially : something used to prevent disease

Other Words from preventive


preventively adverb
preventiveness noun

Synonyms for preventive

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Cann notes that, unlike many other Republican governors, Cox has also raised concerns about access inequities to the COVID-19 vaccine and initially took a more aggressive policy stance on preventive measures. Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3 Jan. 2022 While the event was held in adherence to all preventive measures, its capacity and scope were limited as many international power players are wary of travel beyond the industry bubbles of Paris or London. Stephan Rabimov, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 The Bruins had long taken preventive measures such as holding meetings outdoors and spacing seats at least six feet apart in their bid to make the school’s first postseason appearance since the 2017 Cactus Bowl. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 28 Dec. 2021 And during the pandemic, basic preventive measures, such as clearing sewer-drain gutters, have declined. Kendra Pierre-louis, The Atlantic, 27 Dec. 2021 Diabetes, and particularly pre-diabetes, developing in later years have less time to progress to complications of diabetes, and thus are less likely to require preventive steps, Dr. Barry said. Thomas M. Burton, WSJ, 16 Mar. 2021 Local officials urged residents Tuesday to keep up their guard by wearing face coverings and taking other preventive steps, such as avoiding large groups. Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2020 At a recent meeting on aerosols, however, Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, noted that preventive steps can be a challenge in the real world. Malcolm Ritter, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Sep. 2020 But the vagueness of many of the guidelines, according to Dr. Whelton, means that schools can do as much or as little of general preventive steps and claim to be compliant. Max Horberry, New York Times, 28 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But there is concern for those who remain unvaccinated and have leaned on Regeneron or other similar cocktails as a coronavirus preventive or treatment if they are infected. Arkansas Online, 17 Dec. 2021 According to the Mayo Clinic, some common preventive medications include: Tricyclic antidepressants, which a person would take as a daily pill in very low doses. Sara Gaynes Levy, SELF, 17 Nov. 2021 Similarly, zinc and vitamin C are undergoing further study, but there are not good data showing effectiveness as treatment or preventive for these supplements. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 14 Sep. 2021 The Front Line Covid-19 Critical Care Alliance, a nonprofit touting ivermectin as a preventive and treatment for covid that lists Wagshul as a founding physician, is referenced in the Ohio lawsuit. Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2021 The findings point to the possibility of microbiota manipulation as a preventive for Alzheimer’s. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 10 June 2021 Many people turned to alcohol as a preventive or a cure. Kiona N. Smith, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2021 Eli Lilly 5 days ago issued its own press release about a COVID-19 study in nursing home residents that found 80% protection from symptomatic disease when its single monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2 was used as a preventive. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, 26 Jan. 2021 In these more favorable situations, local fire crews have the authority and incentive to quickly take advantage of preventive-burn opportunities. Kiliii Yüyan, History & Culture, 17 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of preventive


circa 1626, in the meaning defined above


circa 1639, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for preventive

Time Traveler

The first known use of preventive was circa 1626

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Dictionary Entries Near preventive



preventive law

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Statistics for preventive

Last Updated

5 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Preventive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for preventive



English Language Learners Definition of preventive

: used to stop something bad from happening


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

Kids Definition of preventive

: used for keeping something from happening


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



Medical Definition of preventive (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on preventive

Nglish: Translation of preventive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preventive for Arabic Speakers


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