[ pri-vent ]
See synonyms for: preventpreventedpreventingprevents on

verb (used with object)
  1. to keep from occurring; avert; hinder: He intervened to prevent bloodshed.

  2. to hinder or stop from doing something: There is nothing to prevent us from going.

  1. Archaic. to act ahead of; forestall.

  2. Archaic. to precede.

  3. Archaic. to anticipate.

verb (used without object)
  1. to interpose a hindrance: He will come if nothing prevents.

Origin of prevent

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English, from Latin praeventus “anticipated,” past participle of praevenīre “to anticipate,” equivalent to prae- pre- + venīre “to come”

synonym study For prevent

1. Prevent, hamper, hinder, impede refer to different degrees of stoppage of action or progress. To prevent is to stop something effectually by forestalling action and rendering it impossible: to prevent the sending of a message. To hamper is to clog or entangle or put an embarrassing restraint upon: to hamper preparations for a trip. To hinder is to keep back by delaying or stopping progress or action: to hinder the progress of an expedition. To impede is to make difficult the movement or progress of anything by interfering with its proper functioning: to impede a discussion by demanding repeated explanations.

Other words for prevent

Opposites for prevent

Other words from prevent

  • pre·vent·a·ble, pre·vent·i·ble, adjective
  • pre·vent·a·bil·ty, noun
  • pre·vent·ing·ly, adverb
  • non·pre·vent·a·ble, adjective
  • non·pre·vent·i·ble, adjective
  • qua·si-pre·vent·ed, adjective
  • un·pre·vent·a·ble, adjective
  • un·pre·vent·ed, adjective
  • un·pre·vent·i·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prevent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prevent


/ (prɪˈvɛnt) /

  1. (tr) to keep from happening, esp by taking precautionary action

  2. (tr often foll by from) to keep (someone from doing something); hinder; impede

  1. (intr) to interpose or act as a hindrance

  2. (tr) archaic to anticipate or precede

Origin of prevent

C15: from Latin praevenīre, from prae before + venīre to come

Derived forms of prevent

  • preventable or preventible, adjective
  • preventability or preventibility, noun
  • preventably or preventibly, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012