Origin of precaution
OTHER WORDS FROM precautionun·pre·cau·tioned, adjective
Words nearby precaution
MORE ABOUT PRECAUTION
What does precaution mean?
A precaution is an action taken in advance to prevent something negative from happening or to lessen the impact of the negative thing if it does happen.
This sense of precaution is often used with the verb take, as in take precautions or take every precaution.
Precaution can also refer to caution in advance of something (which leads one to take such precautions).
It can also be used as a verb meaning to warn. However, this is uncommon. The verb caution is more commonly used to mean this.
Precaution has two adjective forms: precautious, meaning being careful by actively preparing to avoid something negative, and precautionary, which is used to describe things done as a precaution, as in precautionary measures.
Example: Officials said they have taken every available precaution to secure the city in advance of the storm.
Where does precaution come from?
The first records of the word precaution come from around 1600. Precaution combines the prefix pre–, meaning “before,” with the noun caution (alertness or care in what could be a bad situation).
So how is precaution different from caution? The key difference is the pre-. Precaution implies action taken before something actually happens. A person using caution is being careful, especially in general or during a dangerous situation. A person taking precautions has anticipated something negative and is doing something to prepare so that it doesn’t happen or that it won’t be quite as bad if it does. A person boarding up windows before a hurricane hits is taking precautions. A person who always prepares for the worst case scenario has a sense of precaution.
When used in the phrase just a precaution, the word often implies that the bad thing probably won’t happen, and that the precaution has been taken to be extra careful.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to precaution?
What are some synonyms for precaution?
- precautionary measure
What are some words that share a root or word element with precaution?
What are some words that often get used in discussing precaution?
How is precaution used in real life?
Precaution is most often used in the context of serious situations that involve real danger.
Hurricane #Florence is now a Category 4 hurricane.
Folks, if you are in the Carolinas or Virginia — this is a historic storm.
Take every available precaution. Help your neighbors. Do not underestimate this hurricane. https://t.co/0Yvpup1svJ
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) September 10, 2018
As a precaution, police and @WYFRS are advising residents in vicinity of Leeds Road, Huddersfield to keep doors and windows shut following a chemical leak at a plant in that area.
— West Yorkshire Police (@WestYorksPolice) May 28, 2020
Astronauts are pros when it comes to quarantine, it's something they all must do. Although they are around people today, they are all still taking this very seriously. Everyone keeps their distance and takes several precautions to ensure their health and safety are prioritized.
— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) May 27, 2020
Try using precaution!
Which of the following examples refers to an action that would be considered a precaution?
A. Stepping carefully across a rickety bridge.
B. Putting on a life jacket before going on a boat.
C. Charging wildly into battle without a plan.
How to use precaution in a sentence
In Chinatown, she urged people to take precautions and to be vigilant.Trump’s ABC News town hall: Four Pinocchios, over and over again|Glenn Kessler|September 16, 2020|Washington Post
The measure was taken partly as a precaution for the health of Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, who has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.How the coronavirus outbreak is roiling the film and entertainment industries|Alissa Wilkinson|September 11, 2020|Vox
Getting on an airplane, he postulated, was not something consumers would be ready to do for a long time, leaving travel plans to be dictated more by safety precautions than whimsy.Airbnb CEO: The pandemic will force us to see more of the world, not less|Verne Kopytoff|September 7, 2020|Fortune
Overall, business execs say that approaching an in person meeting with transparency as well as setting the stage for the kinds of precautions that will happen once in person is key.‘Safe and healthy’: As in person meetings resume, business execs are having the coronavirus ‘talk’|Kristina Monllos|September 4, 2020|Digiday
Given the opportunity to test and find out that an asymptomatic contact is positive is always preferable, she said, because people are more likely to take precautions and isolate properly, particularly around family members.America Doesn’t Have a Coherent Strategy for Asymptomatic Testing. It Needs One.|by Caroline Chen|September 1, 2020|ProPublica
As a precaution against a possible disturbance, the ferry was escorted by a police boat, its blue lights flashing.‘I Can’t Breathe!’ ‘I Can’t Breathe!’ A Moral Indictment of Cop Culture|Michael Daly|December 4, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The jacket and gloves were a precaution in the event the eaglet panicked, but there was little fuss as he tossed the net over her.
As a precaution, they have been placed on a 21-day fever watch.
But, the precaution falls flat on the upper floors of thin-walled barracks.Dodging Rockets in Afghanistan as the Taliban’s Fighting Season Begins|Nick Willard|May 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
DePree said Marble Collegiate sometimes takes another flu-season precaution.
Why did he not exercise more precaution when investigating anything so suspicious as a concealed fire?Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair
Every precaution was taken by Colonel Guitar to guard against a night attack, but his little army was allowed to rest in peace.The Courier of the Ozarks|Byron A. Dunn
And I had already taken the precaution of retaining the best legal counsel in the city.Nine Men in Time|Noel Miller Loomis
A man at all easy in his circumstances would spare himself much annoyance by taking the above simple precaution.Little Travels and Roadside Sketches|William Makepeace Thackeray
Indeed, you would not have taken the precaution, which you did at the moment of my arrest, of searching me to find firearms.The Doctor of Pimlico|William Le Queux