What does prevent mean?

Definitions for prevent

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word prevent.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. prevent, forestall, foreclose, preclude, forbidverb

    keep from happening or arising; make impossible

    "My sense of tact forbids an honest answer"; "Your role in the projects precludes your involvement in the competitive project"

  2. prevent, keepverb

    stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state

    "We must prevent the cancer from spreading"; "His snoring kept me from falling asleep"; "Keep the child from eating the marbles"


  1. preventverb

    To stop; to keep (from happening).

    I brushed my teeth to prevent them from going yellow.

  2. preventverb

    To take preventative measures.

  3. preventverb

    To come before; to precede.

  4. preventverb

    To outdo, surpass.

  5. Etymology: From preventen, from praeventus, perfect passive participle of praevenio, from prae + venio.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To PREVENTverb

    Etymology: prævenio, Lat. prevenir, Fr.

    Are we to forsake any true opinion, or to shun any requisite action, only because we have in the practice thereof been prevented by idolaters. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 12.

    Prevent him with the blessings of goodness. Psalm xxi. 3.

    Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour. Common Prayer.

    Let thy grace, O Lord, always prevent and follow us. Common Prayer.

    Mine eyes prevent the night-watches, that I might be occupied in thy words. Psalm cxix. 4.

    The same officer told us, he came to conduct us, and that he had prevented the hour, because we might have the whole day before us for our business. Francis Bacon.

    Nothing engendred doth prevent his meat:
    Flies have their tables spread, ere they appear;
    Some creatures have in winter what to eat;
    Others do sleep. George Herbert, Temple of Sacred Poems.

    Soon shalt thou find, if thou but arm their hands,
    Their ready guilt preventing thy commands;
    Coud’st thou some great proportion’d mischief frame,
    They’d prove the father from whose loins they came. Alexander Pope.

    Thou hast prevented us with offertures of love, even when we were thine enemies. Charles I .

    They prevented me in the day of my trouble; but the Lord was my upholder. Psalm xviii. 18.

    I do find it cowardly and vile,
    For fear of what might fall, so to prevent
    The time of life. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.

    This your sincerest care could not prevent,
    Foretold so lately what would come to pass. John Milton.

    Too great confidence in success is the likeliest to prevent it; because it hinders us from making the best use of the advantages which we enjoy. Francis Atterbury.

  2. To Preventverb

    To come before the time. A latinism.

    Strawberries watered with water, wherein hath been steeped sheep’s dung, will prevent and come early. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Preventverb

    to go before; to precede; hence, to go before as a guide; to direct

  2. Preventverb

    to be beforehand with; to anticipate

  3. Preventverb

    to intercept; to hinder; to frustrate; to stop; to thwart

  4. Preventverb

    to come before the usual time

  5. Etymology: [L. praevenire, praeventum; prae before + venire to come. See Come.]


  1. PReVENT

    PReVENT is a European automotive industry activity co-funded by the European Commission to contribute to road safety by developing and demonstrating preventive safety applications and technologies. Preventive and active safety applications help drivers to avoid or mitigate accidents by using in-vehicle systems that sense the nature and significance of the danger, while taking the driver’s state into account. The PReVENT project is one of the largest initiative on road safety co-funded as an Integrated Project by the European Commission. The total budget amounts to more than €55 million for a duration of 4 years starting from February 2004 to January 2008. It involves more than 50 European partners from the most prominent vehicle manufacturers and equipment suppliers to the best intelligent vehicle research laboratories in Europe. Three general concepts have been followed throughout the PReVENT Integrated Project: The Virtual Safety Belt, the Time-To-Collision timescale and Three-layer architecture. The Virtual Safety Belt is the concept of integrating complementary safety functions in one vehicle. PReVENT partners have worked together to develop the virtual safety belt around the vehicle by

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Prevent

    prē-vent′, v.t. to hinder: to check: to render impossible: (orig.) to go before: to be earlier than.—v.t. Prēvene′ (rare), to precede.—n. Prevē′nience.—adj. Prevē′nient (Milt.), going before: preceding: preventive.—n. Preventabil′ity, the quality of being preventable.—adj. Preven′table, that may be prevented or hindered.—ns. Preven′ter, one who, or that which, prevents or hinders: (naut.) an additional rope or spar for strengthening the ordinary one; Preven′tion, act of preventing: anticipation or forethought: obstruction.—adjs. Preven′tive, Preven′tative, tending to prevent or hinder: preservative.—n. that which prevents: a preservative.—adv. Preven′tively.—n. Preven′tiveness.—Preventive service, the service rendered by the coastguard in preventing smuggling. [L. præventus, pa.p. of prævenīrepræ, before, venīre, to come.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prevent' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1505

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prevent' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3288

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prevent' in Verbs Frequency: #219

How to pronounce prevent?

How to say prevent in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of prevent in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of prevent in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of prevent in a Sentence

  1. Bennie Thompson:

    The threat of a terrorist-trained extremist returning to the United States from the battlefields in Iraq and Syria is serious, and we must do what we can to prevent it.

  2. Greg Mandoli:

    We’re looking to prevent, deter and protect communities. The public doesn't realize what’s happening in a federal investigative agency like HSI and the breath of the investigations that we’re doing. So, with Project Wildfire, we’re looking to take ground information and feed them back into the collective pool... working with our local partners to identify community threats as we look to prevent, deter and protect the homeland.

  3. District Judge Randolph Moss:

    Our elected representatives from both political parties came together that day to perform their constitutional and statutory duty to declare, in the word of the statute, the person elected president, the mob's objective was to stop that from happening. They were prepared to break the law to prevent Congress from performing its constitutional and statutory duty. That is chilling for many reasons.

  4. Erik Martin:

    Unfortunately there is no vaccine but there are steps families and parents can take to prevent the virus from spreading, if Erik Martin child is displaying symptoms of RSV, it's a good idea to visit the pediatrician's office for testing. However, if the child is really struggling to breathe, a trip to the emergency room might be in order.

  5. Ron Chapman:

    The best way to prevent measles and its spread is to get vaccinated.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for prevent

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for prevent »


Find a translation for the prevent definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these prevent definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "prevent." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 6 Feb. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/prevent>.

    Are we missing a good definition for prevent? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    an unpleasant or disastrous destiny
    • A. blur
    • B. distinguish
    • C. obligate
    • D. doom

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for prevent: