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preemptive strike

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noun Military.
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.
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Which form is commonly used with other verbs to express intention?
Compare preventive war.

Origin of preemptive strike

First recorded in 1955–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use preemptive strike in a sentence

Cultural definitions for preemptive strike

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.
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