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 obviated

Contemporary Examples of obviated

Historical Examples of obviated

  • I am glad that the necessity for making an attack upon the camp is obviated.

  • This might be obviated by burning the sample on a common earthen plate.


    Solon Robinson

  • All difficulty about the process of removal might and should be obviated.


    Harriet Martineau

  • If printed cards are used, much of the note-taking is obviated.

  • If this objection could not be obviated, it would, I confess, have great weight in my own mind.

British Dictionary definitions for obviated



(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 obviated



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