verb (used with object), ob·vi·at·ed, ob·vi·at·ing.

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 formsob·vi·a·ble [ob-vee-uh-buhl] /ˈɒb vi ə bəl/, adjectiveob·vi·a·tion, nounob·vi·a·tor, nounpre·ob·vi·ate, verb (used with object), pre·ob·vi·at·ed, pre·ob·vi·at·ing.un·ob·vi·a·ble, adjectiveun·ob·vi·at·ed, adjective
Can be confusedameliorate obviate vitiate

Synonyms for obviate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for obviate

Contemporary Examples of obviate

  • But that does not obviate the U.S. from its statutory obligation to cancel its $1.3 billion aid to the Egyptian military.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Egypt: That Was A Coup

    Ali Gharib

    July 3, 2013

  • Mofaz in the government doesn'€™t obviate the enormous technical obstacles to an Israeli strike.

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    October Surprise?

    Elisheva Goldberg

    May 8, 2012

  • This is most obvious when expensive forms of trash are forced to backflip until they obviate their standard uses.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Pictorial Ode to Michelle

    Stanley Crouch

    December 4, 2009

Historical Examples of obviate

British Dictionary definitions for obviate



(tr) to avoid or prevent (a need or difficulty)
Derived Formsobviation, noun

Word Origin for obviate

C16: from Late Latin obviātus prevented, past participle of obviāre; see obvious


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
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

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