or pre-emp·tion

[ pree-emp-shuh n ]
/ priˈɛmp ʃən /


the act or right of claiming or purchasing before or in preference to others.

Nearby words

  1. preeminent,
  2. preeminently,
  3. preemphasis,
  4. preemployment,
  5. preempt,
  6. preemptive,
  7. preemptive right,
  8. preemptive strike,
  9. preemptor,
  10. preemptory

Origin of preemption

1595–1605; < Medieval Latin praeëmpt(us) bought beforehand (past participle of praeëmere) + -ion. See pre-, emptor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pre-emption

British Dictionary definitions for pre-emption


/ (prɪˈɛmpʃən) /


law the purchase of or right to purchase property in advance of or in preference to others
international law the right of a government to intercept and seize for its own purposes goods or property of the subjects of another state while in transit, esp in time of war

Word Origin for pre-emption

C16: from Medieval Latin praeemptiō, from praeemere to buy beforehand, from emere to buy

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 pre-emption



also preemption, c.1600, literally "the right of purchasing before others," from pre- "before" + emption.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper