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preemptive

or pre-emp·tive

[pree-emp-tiv]
adjective
  1. of or relating to preemption.
  2. taken as a measure against something possible, anticipated, or feared; preventive; deterrent: a preemptive tactic against a ruthless business rival.
  3. preempting or possessing the power to preempt; appropriative; privileged: a commander's preemptive authority.
  4. Bridge. pertaining to, involving, or noting an opening bid or an overcall in a suit that is at an unnecessarily high level and that is essentially a defensive maneuver designed to make communication between one's opponents more difficult: a preemptive bid; to give a preemptive response.
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Origin of preemptive

An Americanism dating back to 1785–95; preempt + -ive
Related formspre·emp·tive·ly, adverb
Can be confusedperemptory preemptive
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pre-emptive

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Many seem to think that theology has a pre-emptive right to dogmatism.

    Evolution

    Joseph Le Conte

  • Altogether 363 pre-emptive selections in respect of as many runs were made.

    Our First Half-Century

    Government of Queensland


British Dictionary definitions for pre-emptive

pre-emptive

adjective
  1. of, involving, or capable of pre-emption
  2. bridge (of a high bid) made to shut out opposition bidding
  3. military designed to reduce or destroy an enemy's attacking strength before it can use ita pre-emptive strike
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Derived Formspre-emptively, adverb
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-emptive

adj.

also preemptive, 1806, "pertaining to preemption;" from pre-emption + -ive. Specifically of an attack on an enemy who is plotting his own attack, 1958, a term from the Cold War. Related: Pre-emptively; preemptively.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper