or pre-emp·tive

[ pree-emp-tiv ]
See synonyms for preemptive on
  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.

  1. preempting or possessing the power to preempt; appropriative; privileged: a commander's preemptive authority.

  2. 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.

Origin of preemptive

An Americanism dating back to 1785–95; preempt + -ive

Other words from preemptive

  • pre·emp·tive·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with preemptive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use preemptive in a sentence

  • 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


/ (prɪˈɛmptɪv) /

  1. of, involving, or capable of pre-emption

  2. bridge (of a high bid) made to shut out opposition bidding

  1. military designed to reduce or destroy an enemy's attacking strength before it can use it: a pre-emptive strike

Derived forms of pre-emptive

  • pre-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