noun, plural ve·toes. Also called veto power (for defs 1, 4).

verb (used with object), ve·toed, ve·to·ing.

to reject (a proposed bill or enactment) by exercising a veto.
to prohibit emphatically.

Origin of veto

First recorded in 1620–30, veto is from the Latin word vetō I forbid
Related formsve·to·er, nounpre·ve·to, noun, plural pre·ve·toes, verb (used with object), pre·ve·toed, pre·ve·to··ve·to, verb (used with object), re·ve·toed, re·ve·to·ing.un·ve·toed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for veto

Contemporary Examples of veto

Historical Examples of veto

  • He used his veto on the laws, for instance, and otherwise exercised his prerogatives.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • For if the English Parliament have the power to veto our wishes, where's the difference?

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • And the Turkish nation had no opportunity to sanction or veto their resolve.

    England and Germany

    Emile Joseph Dillon

  • An important act of the legislature awaited his signature or veto.

    David Dunne

    Belle Kanaris Maniates

  • An effort was made to carry it over the Governor's veto, but it failed.

British Dictionary definitions for veto


noun plural -toes

the power to prevent legislation or action proposed by others; prohibitionthe presidential veto
the exercise of this power
Also called: veto message US government a document containing the reasons why a chief executive has vetoed a measure

verb -toes, -toing or -toed (tr)

to refuse consent to (a proposal, esp a government bill)
to prohibit, ban, or forbidher parents vetoed her trip
Derived Formsvetoer, nounvetoless, adjective

Word Origin for veto

C17: from Latin: I forbid, from vetāre to forbid
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

Word Origin and History for veto

1620s, from Latin veto, literally "I forbid," first person singular present indicative of vetare "forbid," of unknown origin. Used by Roman tribunes who opposed measures of the Senate or magistrates.


1706, from veto (n.). Related: Vetoed; vetoing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

veto in Culture


A vote that blocks a decision. In the United Nations, for example, each of the five permanent members of the Security Council has the power of veto.


The power of a president or governor to reject a bill proposed by a legislature by refusing to sign it into law. The president or governor actually writes the word veto (Latin for “I forbid”) on the bill and sends it back to the legislature with a statement of his or her objections. The legislature may choose to comply by withdrawing or revising the bill, or it can override the veto and pass the law, by a two-thirds vote in each house.


Originally intended to prevent Congress from passing unconstitutional laws, the veto is now used by the president as a powerful bargaining tool, especially when his objectives conflict with majority sentiment in Congress. (See also checks and balances.)
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.