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Syllabification: pre·vent
Pronunciation: /prəˈvent

Definition of prevent in English:


[with object]
1Keep (something) from happening or arising: action must be taken to prevent further accidents
More example sentences
  • Too often one finds that two or three players make the same runs into space when a little bit of thought would have prevented it happening.
  • Anything that can prevent a tragedy from happening should be carefully adhered to.
  • The prime focus for us is to prevent them happening in the first place.
1.1Make (someone or something) unable to do something: window locks won’t prevent a determined burglar from getting in
More example sentences
  • Several neighbours rushed to help the Brownes but they were unable to prevent the men escaping.
  • Once home, Charlie's connection to family prevents him from collapsing in racial self-hatred when he is unable to find work.
  • But on the margin, it prevents a lot of people from taking steps that might lead to bankruptcy and deprivation.
2 archaic (Of God) go before (someone) with spiritual guidance and help.
Example sentences
  • The abiding Spirit prevents a humanistic, rationalistic understanding of truth.


late Middle English (in the sense 'act in anticipation of'): from Latin praevent- 'preceded, hindered', from the verb praevenire, from prae 'before' + venire 'come'.



Pronunciation: /priˌventəˈbilətē/
Example sentences
  • I think it's far too soon to draw conclusions about direct culpability, but there was definitely an element of preventability here.
  • Too many women are unaware of their risk factors and the prevalence and preventability of heart disease.
  • The domains that were surveyed (ie, preventability, liability, and quality) were based on generally accepted knowledge and consensus within the field.


(also preventible) adjective
Example sentences
  • The result, he says, will cause an unnecessary increase in preventable infections.
  • Why would you want any child to die unnecessarily from pneumococcal infection when it is now a preventable disease?
  • That should not have happened because most accidents are preventable.

Definition of prevent in:

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