• IPA: /pɹɪˈvɛnʃən/


  1. The act of preventing or hindering; obstruction of action, access, or approach; thwarting.
    a fire prevention campaign
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (play), Act III, Scene 1,
      Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
    • 1672, Robert South, Sermon Preached at Christ-Church, Oxon. before the University, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, London: Thomas Bennet, Volume 3, p. 222,
      But no Man Pities another for any Evil lying upon Him, which he would not help, but which he could not. One is his Burden, the other his Choice; Vertually at least, since he might have Chosen its Prevention.
    • 1982, Ronald Reagan, Presidential Radio Address - 2 October 1982
      In the next few days we'll announce the administration's new strategy for the prevention of drug abuse and drug trafficking.
  2. (medicine) Any measure intended to limit health-related risks (such as information campaigns, vaccination, early diagnosis etc.).
    • 1933, David Marshall Brooks, The Necessity of Atheism
      Whatever cures are known, and preventions that are practiced now, could have been common knowledge centuries ago.
  3. (obsolete) The act of going, or state of being, before.
    • 1627, Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum: or A Naturall Historie, London: William Lee, III. Century, p. 59,
      It is generally knowne and obserued, that Light, and the Obiect of Sight, moue swifter than Sound; For we see the Flash of a Peece [i.e. firearm] is seene sooner, than the Noise is heard. […] And the greater the Distance, the greater is the Preuention: As we see in Thunder, which is farre off; where the Lightning Precedeth the Cracke a good space.
  4. (obsolete) Anticipation; especially, anticipation of needs, wishes, hazards and risks
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act II, Scene 4,
      [Suffolk, York and Beaufort]
      Have all limed bushes to betray thy wings,
      And, fly thou how thou canst, they’ll tangle thee:
      But fear not thou, until thy foot be snared,
      Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.
  5. precaution; forethought.
    • 1659, Henry Hammond, A Paraphrase and Annotations upon All the Books of the New Testament, London: Richard Davis, The Gospel according to S. LUKE, Chapter 14, verse 3, p. 238,
      And Jesus […] by way of prevention asked a question of the Doctors of the law and Pharisees that were present, saying, Is the working of a cure on a sick man a thing forbidden, and so unlawfull to be done upon a sabbath day?
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