Definition of forestall in English:

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Pronunciation: /fɔːˈstɔːl/


[with object]
1Prevent or obstruct (an anticipated event or action) by taking advance action: they will present their resignations to forestall a vote of no confidence
More example sentences
  • In addition, thanks to medicine's success in curing disease and forestalling death, it is not clear that we haven't produced a culture in which death is even more unacceptable and more feared than ever before.
  • In face of this social misery, the ruling coalition has resorted to forestalling parliamentary elections and thwarting an inquiry into corruption.
  • Immediately after winning the battle, he resumed the policies that had forestalled military success.
pre-empt, get in before, get ahead of, steal a march on, anticipate, second-guess, nip in the bud, thwart, frustrate, foil, stave off, ward off, fend off, avert, preclude, obviate, prevent, intercept, check, block, hinder, impede, obstruct
informal beat someone to it, beat someone to the draw/punch
1.1Act in advance of (someone) in order to prevent them from doing something: he would have spoken but David forestalled him
More example sentences
  • Or you can advance seemingly strongly but with a reserved spirit, forestalling him with the reserve.
  • He recovered on the 19th, but by then, Stalin, whose confidence in his generals was always easily shaken, had decided to hedge his bet by forestalling the Americans.
  • Chris looked to interrupt, but Sam held up a hand, forestalling him.
1.2 historical Buy up (goods) in order to profit by an enhanced price.
Example sentences
  • Although the laws against engrossing and forestalling were repealed in 1772, regulation of wages and prices still remained on the statute book and consumers could also appeal to the common law.



Example sentences
  • Goods brought by outsider merchants were to be sold only in official marketplaces, without any interference from hosts or forestallers.
  • The machine innovators were frequently viewed in the same way the moral economy treated the forestaller and regrater in the marketplace.
  • In practice juries were rarely interested in establishing whether a forestaller was aiming to create a monopoly or whether any degree of monopoly had in fact been created.


Example sentences
  • It was the walk which Swithin had taken in the rain when he had learnt the fatal forestalment of his stellar discovery; but now he was moved by a less desperate mood, and blamed neither God nor man.
  • Enacted by Act V of 1928 and effective as from the 14th May, 1928 the aim of the law is to make provision for the safeguard of revenue and the prevention of forestalment.
  • Long destitute of credit and resources, he looked upon his appointment as the incontestable source of instant wealth, and he hesitated not to determine upon the forestalment of its profits to entertain the ‘first gentleman in England.’


Old English foresteall 'an ambush' (see fore- and stall). As a verb the earliest sense (Middle English) was 'intercept and buy up goods before they reach the market, so as to raise the price' (formerly an offence).

Words that rhyme with forestall

all, appal (US appall), awl, Bacall, ball, bawl, befall, Bengal, brawl, call, caul, crawl, Donegal, drawl, drywall, enthral (US enthrall), fall, gall, Galle, Gaul, hall, haul, maul, miaul, miscall, Montreal, Naipaul, Nepal, orle, pall, Paul, pawl, Saul, schorl, scrawl, seawall, Senegal, shawl, small, sprawl, squall, stall, stonewall, tall, thrall, trawl, wall, waul, wherewithal, withal, yawl

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fore|stall

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