• synonyms


or pre-empt

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verb (used with object)
  1. to occupy (land) in order to establish a prior right to buy.
  2. to acquire or appropriate before someone else; take for oneself; arrogate: a political issue preempted by the opposition party.
  3. to take the place of because of priorities, reconsideration, rescheduling, etc.; supplant: The special newscast preempted the usual television program.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Bridge. to make a preemptive bid.
  2. to forestall or prevent (something anticipated) by acting first; preclude; head off: an effort to preempt inflation.
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  1. Bridge. a preemptive bid.
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Origin of preempt

1840–50, Americanism; back formation from preemption
Related formspre·emp·ti·ble, adjectivepre·emp·tor [pree-emp-tawr, -ter] /priˈɛmp tɔr, -tər/, nounpre·emp·to·ry [pree-emp-tuh-ree] /priˈɛmp tə ri/, adjectiveun·pre·empt·ed, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for preempting

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I felt like going into the Northwest and preempting a homestead.

    One Way Out

    William Carleton

  • She stepped through her curtain and said gaily: "You're preempting my privilege, Philip."


    Leslie Burton Blades

  • He called up both women, alleging a visit to strike headquarters to one, and preempting the other for the afternoon.


    Clement Wood