- to occupy (land) in order to establish a prior right to buy.
- to acquire or appropriate before someone else; take for oneself; arrogate: a political issue preempted by the opposition party.
- to take the place of because of priorities, reconsideration, rescheduling, etc.; supplant: The special newscast preempted the usual television program.
- Bridge. to make a preemptive bid.
- to forestall or prevent (something anticipated) by acting first; preclude; head off: an effort to preempt inflation.
- Bridge. a preemptive bid.
Origin of preempt
SynonymsSee more synonyms for preempt on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pre-empt
He'll be briefed on the risks of Iranian retaliation, and he will be offered a menu of options to pre-empt such retaliation.Why Romney Won't Fight Iran
August 30, 2012
As a growing number of affiliates threatened to pre-empt the show, Gaspin said he realized “that this was not going to go well.”Fighting for Conan
January 10, 2010
Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally pre-empt, or appear to pre-empt, negotiations.Obama's Bad Trip
November 18, 2009
According to the vice president, we will strive to prevent threats but not pre-empt them.Joe Biden's Empty Words
February 10, 2009
The aim should be to pre-empt the ground for cleanness and truth.The Child in the Midst
Mary Schauffler Labaree
If fortunate to find such, they at once pre-empt the old lodge and make it their home and headquarters.Canadian Wilds
The favorite rumor was that the entire firm was a decoy to bewilder agents of foreign powers and pre-empt their espionage efforts.In the Control Tower
So late as 1872 an Indian received special permission to pre-empt one hundred acres.
- (tr) to acquire in advance of or to the exclusion of others; appropriate
- (tr) mainly US to occupy (public land) in order to acquire a prior right to purchase
- (intr) bridge to make a high opening bid, often on a weak hand, to shut out opposition bidding
Word Origin and History for pre-empt
also preempt, 1830, "secure by pre-emtion," back-formation from pre-emption, originally American English. In the broascasting sense, it is attested from 1965, American English, a euphemism for "cancel." Related: pre-empted; preempted.