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preemptive strike

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noun
  1. preventive war.

Origin of preemptive strike

First recorded in 1955–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
preemptive strike in Culture

preemptive strike

A first-strike attack with nuclear weapons carried out to destroy an enemy's capacity to respond. A preemptive strike is based on the assumption that the enemy is planning an imminent attack.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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