Definition of preemption in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌprēˈem(p)SH(ə)n/


1The purchase of goods or shares by one person or party before the opportunity is offered to others: the commission had the right of preemption
More example sentences
  • Mrs. Clarke would prefer this to be a right of pre-emption and that if the Purchaser exercises its right completion will take place twenty eight days thereafter.
  • In pre-emption articles, it is usual to find, as here, a permitted class of transferee or a provision for transfer to a non-member in the event that no existing member is willing to purchase the shares.
  • I needed to sort out a way of creating pre-emption provisions and to retain control.
1.1 historical, chiefly North American & Australian/New Zealand The right to purchase public land by preemption.
Example sentences
  • The right of pre-emption or exclusive purchase in the same article was used by the Crown to lawfully extinguish Maori customary title and thereby allow alienation.
  • Increased land sales and pre-emption laws (which authorised settlers to stake claims on most surveyed lands) had facilitated rapid settlement of the Midwest and the Old Southwest.
  • The table below shows how, as the Crown's policy of pre-emption took effect, the burden of providing revenue fell upon Maori to finance the colony's development.
2The action of preempting or forestalling, especially of making a preemptive attack: damaging retaliation for any attempt at preemption
More example sentences
  • True, there may be a tolerance of pre-emption if an attack is imminent.
  • Patriots, of whatever social provenance, would never accept any action likely to damage prospects of victory, and might well attempt pre-emption if such an action were anticipated.
  • This is not retribution but pre-emption, finding appropriate force to prevent a further attack.
2.1The interruption or replacement of a scheduled radio or television program.
Example sentences
  • For the first quarter, we are estimating that the events resulted in approximately $2.2 million in advertiser cancellations and preemptions, many coming from the automotive sector.
  • Maybe some of the blame for the programme's poor ratings can be blamed on preemptions, and episodes airing out of order - but then why not put them in the proper order them for the DVD release?


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin praeemptio(n-), from the verb praeemere, from prae 'in advance' + emere 'buy'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pre·emp·tion

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