- 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
1840–50, Americanism; back formation from preemption
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Wordsconfiscate, acquire, expropriate, seize, assume, arrogate, anticipate, commandeer, appropriate, obtain, bump, sequester, take, usurp, annex, accroach
Examples from the Web for preempt
Tokyo was hoping to preempt a more nationalistic potential buyer from making the purchase.China Is Protesting, Too
September 17, 2012
Netanyahu would arguably be trying to preempt—not an Iranian nuclear attack—but the reelection of Barack Obama.Who is Bibi preempting – Obama or Iran?
August 15, 2012
To avoid blame, Cantor claimed that the Democrats were intending to do the same and he just wanted to preempt them.9 Revelations From Robert Draper’s ‘Do Not Ask What Good We Do’
April 25, 2012
So this year, take action and preempt the chocolate raid by making him these fabulous melting and fudgy brownies for Father's Day.A Treat for Father’s Day
June 19, 2011
The Obama team was right to preempt the Brazil/Turkish pact on nuclear exchanges with Iran.Why Our Nuke Policy Doesn't Work
Leslie H. Gelb
May 20, 2010