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[ob-vee-eyt] /ˈɒb viˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), obviated, obviating.
to anticipate and prevent or eliminate (difficulties, disadvantages, etc.) by effective measures; render unnecessary:
to obviate the risk of serious injury.
Origin of obviate
1590-1600; < Latin obviātus, past participle of obviāre to act contrary to, derivative of obvius; see obvious, -ate1
Related forms
[ob-vee-uh-buh l] /ˈɒb vi ə bəl/ (Show IPA),
obviation, noun
obviator, noun
preobviate, verb (used with object), preobviated, preobviating.
unobviable, adjective
unobviated, adjective
Can be confused
ameliorate, obviate, vitiate.
preclude, avert, anticipate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for obviate


(transitive) to avoid or prevent (a need or difficulty)
Derived Forms
obviation, noun
Usage note
Only things that have not yet occurred can be obviated. For example, one can obviate a possible future difficulty, but not one that already exists
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin obviātus prevented, past participle of obviāre; see obvious
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
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Word Origin and History for obviate

1590s, "to meet and do away with," from Late Latin obviatus, past participle of obviare "act contrary to, go against," from Latin obvius "that is in the way, that moves against" (see obvious). Related: Obviated; obviating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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