View synonyms for preempted


or pre-empt·ed

[ pree-emp-tid ]


  1. (of land) occupied in order to establish a prior right to buy:

    In 1860 the blacksmith arrived in Kansas to buy his preempted claim of 120 acres on Mission Creek.

  2. acquired or appropriated ahead of others; taken for oneself:

    The group of retired friends lunched together every day in a preempted room at the Exchange Club.

  3. Government. being or relating to an area of oversight reserved by a particular level of government, especially an area that would otherwise be under the authority of a lower level of government:

    Except in the federally preempted domain of warnings based on smoking and health, tobacco regulation is under state control.

  4. replaced or set aside because of other priorities, reconsideration, changes in scheduling, etc.:

    The preempted programs were usually game shows or reruns of primetime sitcoms.

  5. forestalled or prevented by advance action:

    Knowledge acquired through a preempted attack may inform national response and help deter future attacks.


  1. the simple past tense and past participle of preempt.

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Other Words From

  • un·pre·empt·ed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of preempted1

First recorded in 1860–70; preempt ( def ) + -ed 2( def ) for the adjective senses; preempt ( def ) + -ed 1( def ) for the verb sense

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Example Sentences

By stepping down, the embattled McCaffery preempted an ethics investigation that could have cost him his state pension.

The lowly rated four-hour block on caucus night preempted his show.

In fact, his Countdown program was preempted for the live caucus coverage.

For the moment at least, the Obama White House has preempted both.

Mandela, soon after the 1994 election, preempted them by publicly announcing he would step down after one five-year term.

So much earth must be preempted to extract so much moisture.

“Maybe the pretty girls will all be preempted before you get there,” Leigh replied.

This vantage ground had been preempted mainly by the old men whose hearing was growing dim.

But this region was at once preempted for freedom upon the discovery of gold.

"Lower ten, car seven," was my berth-the one I had bought and found preempted.


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