an attack against an enemy in response to an obvious threat of attack by that enemy: because preemptive strikes are prompted more by clearly imminent danger than by speculation, they generally are considered acceptable in international law.
- Compare preventive war.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use preemptive strike in a sentence
“We’re making a preemptive strike against the virus, acting before it’s too late,” said Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Monday, when the fresh lockdown was announced.National lockdowns return to Europe as COVID-19 numbers soar | David Meyer | October 22, 2020 | Fortune
The Democrats made a preemptive strike, and now the Republicans will exact their revenge.
A historic settlement will grant Netanyahu prestige and widen Israeli leverage for a possible preemptive strike.A Very Israeli Linkage: Iran's Bomb and Peace With the Palestinians | Nadav Eyal | September 10, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
A historic settlement would grant Netanyahu prestige and widen Israeli leverage for a possible preemptive strike.A Very Israeli Linkage: Iran's Nuclear Bomb and Peace With Palestine | Nadav Eyal | September 10, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Third, he relied on spotty intelligence and the threat of chemical weapons to justify a preemptive strike.A Veteran Sees Echoes of Iraq and Argues Against Intervention in Syria | Brian Van Reet | September 9, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
In July 2011, the seven-time Tour de France winner mounted a preemptive strike against 60 Minutes.How Lance Armstrong Lied to the World (Including Me) | Howard Kurtz | January 5, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Cultural definitions for preemptive strike
A first-strike attack with nuclear weapons carried out to destroy an enemy's capacity to respond. A preemptive strike is based on the assumption that the enemy is planning an imminent attack.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.