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or pre-emptive

[pree-emp-tiv] /priˈɛmp tɪv/
of or relating to preemption.
taken as a measure against something possible, anticipated, or feared; preventive; deterrent:
a preemptive tactic against a ruthless business rival.
preempting or possessing the power to preempt; appropriative; privileged:
a commander's preemptive authority.
Bridge. pertaining to, involving, or noting an opening bid or an overcall in a suit that is at an unnecessarily high level and that is essentially a defensive maneuver designed to make communication between one's opponents more difficult:
a preemptive bid; to give a preemptive response.
Origin of preemptive
An Americanism dating back to 1785-95; preempt + -ive
Related forms
preemptively, adverb
Can be confused
peremptory, preemptive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pre-emptive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Many seem to think that theology has a pre-emptive right to dogmatism.

    Evolution Joseph Le Conte
  • Altogether 363 pre-emptive selections in respect of as many runs were made.

    Our First Half-Century Government of Queensland
British Dictionary definitions for pre-emptive


of, involving, or capable of pre-emption
(bridge) (of a high bid) made to shut out opposition bidding
(military) designed to reduce or destroy an enemy's attacking strength before it can use it: a pre-emptive strike
Derived Forms
pre-emptively, adverb
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 pre-emptive

also preemptive, 1806, "pertaining to preemption;" from pre-emption + -ive. Specifically of an attack on an enemy who is plotting his own attack, 1958, a term from the Cold War. Related: Pre-emptively; preemptively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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