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Definition designed or having the power to deter or prevent an anticipated situation or occurrence

The form, preempt can also mean to replace something (typically less important). For example, "The President's speech will preempt our regular broadcast."
  • a preemptive strike against the enemy's air force and missile installation
  • She preempted his expected betrayal by immediately telling everyone what happened in her own words.
  • Again, I'd made the perfect preemptory strike.
    Ellen Hopkins  --  Crank
  • preemptory = preventing an anticipated situation or occurrence
  • It was this little deception, this preemptive claiming of my partner, that made me realize I was staying here.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  The Host
  • Maybe I was a victim of improper preemption?
    Susanna Kaysen  --  Girl Interrupted
  • (editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", converts a verb into a noun that denotes the action or result of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in action, education, and observation.)
  • We should have launched a preemptive expedition to destroy them.
    Ted Dekker  --  Black: The Birth of Evil
  • White people had preempted that point of elevation and there was no more room.
    Zora Neale Hurston  --  Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • "Anna!" she said, and her tone was preemptory.
    Geraldine Brooks  --  Year of Wonders
  • One side was preempted by the professional-looking shortwave receiver and his radio log.
    Pat Frank  --  Alas, Babylon
  • We've dispatched three more squads to preempt her, but I'm afraid it may be too late.
    Rick Yancey  --  The 5th Wave
  • "Carlisle, you don't think—something preemptive?
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Breaking Dawn
  • I suspect he had an inventory of these preemptive phrases to deflect inquiries while not offending.
    James Bradley  --  Flags of Our Fathers
  • I've been learning about preemptive strategies.
    Orson Scott Card  --  Ender's Game
  • Babbitt had discreetly preempted a place beside Louetta on the piano bench.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Babbitt
  • Either scenario explains how the Church might be motivated to launch a preemptive attack against the Priory.
    Dan Brown  --  The Da Vinci Code
  • He shook his head and made a preemptory motion to someone behind the bar who quickly fetched him his tankard.
    Patrick Rothfuss  --  The Name of the Wind
  • The elf bowed, touched two fingers to his lips-which Eragon mirrored-and then preempted Eragon by saying, "May good fortune rule over you."
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • By Friday at dawn, a preemptive panic has set in.
    Ron Suskind  --  A Hope in the Unseen
  • Inventories of hardware, possible troop movement, preemptive strikes, political will-every possibility had been considered at great length.
    Ted Dekker  --  Red: The Heroic Rescue
  • Do you three know what the word 'preempt' means?"
    Lemony Snicket  --  The Reptile Room

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