Definition of prevent in English:


See synonyms for prevent

Translate prevent into Spanish

transitive verb

[with object]
  • 1Keep (something) from happening or arising.

    ‘action must be taken to prevent further accidents’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each is a tragedy, and it is right to seek solutions to why it happened, and to try to prevent them happening again.’
    • ‘As with most management problems, the key to preventing a crisis from happening is early recognition.’
    • ‘We talk about it now, we know it's there, we have a small army of social workers dedicated to identifying it and preventing it from happening again.’
    • ‘Surprise checks by the police, during day and night, can go a long way in checking the menace, thus preventing fatal road accidents.’
    • ‘Perhaps if she and her parents could have had the help and support needed it might have gone a long way in preventing this tragedy from happening.’
    • ‘They could plan how it must happen; they turned the ship of state around and prevented it from being wrecked on the rocks of revenge.’
    • ‘When my wife and I were mugged someone got a police officer in no time but we should be trying to prevent the attacks happening.’
    • ‘We rang all our news outlets to explain the difficulties to them and are doing all we can to prevent the same thing happening again.’
    • ‘And he made an impassioned plea for changes to be made to prevent a similar tragedy happening again.’
    • ‘New security guidelines and technology are being put in place to prevent a similar problem happening again.’
    • ‘It may involve going to Pearson Airport to try to prevent a deportation from happening.’
    • ‘But her experiences made her determined to prevent the same thing happening to others.’
    • ‘I think that avoidable deaths like these could be prevented if people could stop smoking publicly.’
    • ‘To compound matters he was unable to prevent the club from being relegated last season.’
    • ‘Unable to prevent the sliding, the authorities had no choice but to abandon the project.’
    • ‘Ultimately, it was unable to prevent the Soviet invasion of the Baltic states in 1940.’
    • ‘The union was unable to prevent the strike, but it is instructive to look at how it was conducted.’
    stop, put a stop to, avert, nip in the bud, fend off, turn aside, stave off, ward off, head off, shut out, block, intercept, halt, arrest, check, stay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Make (someone or something) unable to do something.
      ‘window locks won't prevent a determined burglar from getting in’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ricin works by getting inside a person's cells and preventing them from making necessary proteins.’
      • ‘Real courage is not shooting people down, but preventing them from shooting.’
      • ‘Fortunately his girth prevents him from even thinking about scaling the bookcase, so the back of the futon is about as much of a Matterhorn as he can manage.’
      • ‘Too often I find that when it comes to matters of faith my reason overwhelms my emotions and prevents me from responding with true charity.’
      • ‘Scenario 3: A flight or other travel delay prevents you from arriving at the dock before the ship sails.’
      • ‘This prevents him from being able to negotiate with other European leaders from anything resembling a position of strength.’
      • ‘Decorum prevents me from providing you with specific examples.’
      • ‘There's nothing in anything that was done last night that prevents us from filibustering somebody that's extreme.’
      • ‘Worsening eyesight prevents her from seeing the screen easily and lately she has been reading with the aid of a magnifying glass.’
      • ‘It should be noted that her inability to perceive reality prevents her from understanding that she is the cause of her problems.’
      • ‘Can revulsion be classified as an adaptive mechanism that prevents us from coming into contact with contaminants?’
      • ‘Develop your plan - then make a back up plan in case the crisis prevents you from using your preferred location and team.’
      • ‘I'll confess my own agoraphobia, which prevents me from enjoying opening nights of popular movies.’
      • ‘Drooping fatty tissue from her stomach area extends from her body and prevents her from walking, she and Turner say.’
      • ‘However, none of that prevents me from honoring the courage and sacrifice of my Confederate ancestors.’
      • ‘The police are there to pick up the pieces, to find the perpetrator and see that justice prevents him from doing it again.’
      • ‘This widespread belief prevents us from being on guard as ads besiege us.’
      stop, put a stop to, avert, nip in the bud, fend off, turn aside, stave off, ward off, head off, shut out, block, intercept, halt, arrest, check, stay
      View synonyms
  • 2 archaic (of God) go before (someone) with spiritual guidance and help.

    • ‘The abiding Spirit prevents a humanistic, rationalistic understanding of truth.’



/prēˈvent/ /priˈvɛnt/


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