Synonym Chooser

How does the verb prevent differ from other similar words?

The words anticipate and forestall are common synonyms of prevent. While all three words mean "to deal with beforehand," prevent implies taking advance measures against something possible or probable.

measures taken to prevent leaks

When can anticipate be used instead of prevent?

The synonyms anticipate and prevent are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When is forestall a more appropriate choice than prevent?

The words forestall and prevent can be used in similar contexts, but forestall implies a getting ahead so as to stop or interrupt something in its course.

hoped to forestall the sale

Thesaurus Entries Near prevent

Cite this Entry

“Prevent.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on prevent

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