• IPA: /pɹɪˈvɛnt/
  • (weak vowel) IPA: /pɹəˈvɛnt/

prevent (prevents, present participle preventing; past and past participle prevented)

  1. (transitive) To stop (an outcome); to keep from (doing something). [from 16th c.]
    I brush my teeth regularly to prevent them from turning yellow.
  2. (intransitive, now, rare) To take preventative measures. [from 16th c.]
    • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew
      ‘I think you must be mad, and she shall not have a glimpse of it while I'm here to prevent!’
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To come before; to precede. [16th-18th c.]
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ↗:
      We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    • We pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us.
    • Then had I come, preventing Sheba's queen.
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To outdo, surpass. [16th-17th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.i:
      With that he put his spurres vnto his steed, / With speare in rest, and toward him did fare, / Like shaft out of a bow preuenting speed.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To be beforehand with; to anticipate.
    • 1703, Alexander Pope, transl., “The Thebais of Statius”, in The Works of Alexander Pope, London: H. Lintont et al., published 1751:
      their ready guilt preventing thy commands
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