Try Our Apps


The saddest words


[fohr-stawl, fawr-] /foʊrˈstɔl, fɔr-/
verb (used with object)
to prevent, hinder, or thwart by action in advance:
to forestall a riot by deploying police.
to act beforehand with or get ahead of; anticipate.
to buy up (goods) in advance in order to increase the price when resold.
to prevent sales at (a fair, market, etc.) by buying up or diverting goods.
Origin of forestall
1350-1400; Middle English forstallen, verbal derivative of forstalle, Old English foresteall intervention (to defeat justice), waylaying. See fore-, stall2
Related forms
forestaller, noun
forestallment, forestalment, noun
unforestalled, adjective
1. preclude, obviate, intercept, obstruct. 2. prevent, avert. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for forestall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for forestall


verb (transitive)
to delay, stop, or guard against beforehand
to anticipate
  1. to prevent or hinder sales at (a market, etc) by buying up merchandise in advance, etc
  2. to buy up (merchandise) for profitable resale Compare corner (sense 21)
Derived Forms
forestaller, noun
forestalment, especially (US) forestallment, noun
Word Origin
C14 forestallen to waylay, from Old English foresteall an ambush, from fore- in front of + steall place
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for forestall

late 14c. (implied in forestalling), "to lie in wait for;" also "to intercept goods before they reach public markets and buy them privately" (formerly a crime; mid-14c. in this sense in Anglo-French), from Old English noun foresteall "intervention, hindrance (of justice); an ambush, a waylaying," literally "a standing before (someone)," from fore- "before" + steall "standing position" (see stall (n.1)). Modern sense of "to anticipate and delay" is from 1580s. Related: Forestalled; forestalling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for forestall

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for forestall

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for forestall