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v. pre·empt·ed, pre·empt·ing, pre·empts
1. To take the place of or take precedence over: Discussion of the water shortage will preempt the other topics on this week's agenda.
a. To take action to prevent (an event or other action) from happening; forestall: "The [Joint] Chiefs ... proposed the use of nuclear weapons to preempt China's anticipated attack on Formosa" (James Carroll).
b. To take action to prevent (another) from acting.
a. To acquire or take for oneself before others; appropriate: "I've preempted the forward compartment [of the boat] with two berths shaped like a V ... to make myself a double bunk" (Joan Gould).
b. To gain possession of by prior right or opportunity, especially to settle on (public land) so as to obtain the right to buy before others.
v.intr. Games
To make a preemptive bid in bridge.

[Back-formation from preemption.]

pre·emp′tor′ (-ĕmp′tôr′) n.
pre·emp′to·ry (-ĕmp′tə-rē) adj.


or pre-empt


1. to occupy (land) in order to establish a prior right to buy; claim.
2. to acquire or appropriate before someone else; take for oneself; arrogate.
3. to take the place of because of priorities, rescheduling, etc.; supplant: A special news report preempted the game show.
4. to forestall or prevent (something anticipated) by acting first; head off.
5. Bridge. to make a preemptive bid.
6. Bridge. a preemptive bid.
[1840–50, Amer.; back formation from preemption]
pre•emp′ti•ble, adj.
pre•emp′tor (-tɔr, -tər) n.
pre•emp′to•ry (-tə ri) adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.preempt - a high bid that is intended to prevent the opposing players from bidding
bidding, bid - (bridge) the number of tricks a bridge player is willing to contract to make
Verb1.preempt - acquire for oneself before others can do so
acquire, get - come into the possession of something concrete or abstract; "She got a lot of paintings from her uncle"; "They acquired a new pet"; "Get your results the next day"; "Get permission to take a few days off from work"
2.preempt - take the place of or have precedence over; "live broadcast of the presidential debate preempts the regular news hour"; "discussion of the emergency situation will preempt the lecture by the professor"
supercede, supersede, supervene upon, supplant, replace - take the place or move into the position of; "Smith replaced Miller as CEO after Miller left"; "the computer has supplanted the slide rule"; "Mary replaced Susan as the team's captain and the highest-ranked player in the school"
3.preempt - gain possession of by prior right or opportunity, especially so as to obtain the right to buy (land)
acquire, get - come into the possession of something concrete or abstract; "She got a lot of paintings from her uncle"; "They acquired a new pet"; "Get your results the next day"; "Get permission to take a few days off from work"
4.preempt - make a preemptive bid in the game of bridge
bridge - any of various card games based on whist for four players
bid, call - make a demand, as for a card or a suit or a show of hands; "He called his trump"


or pre-empt
1. To lay claim to for oneself or as one's right:
2. To cause to be busy or in use:
References in periodicals archive ?
Members of the House committee on public order and safety rebuked Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Benjamin Magalong for prematurely naming senior police officers whom he plans to file charges in connection with the missing 1,004 firearms, which the lawmakers said could be a deliberate attempt to preempt the ongoing House inquiry and showed his unfairness to the identified police officers.
He said the investigation agencies lack the comprehensive legal powers to collect evidence through surveillance or interception although such legal cover is available to intelligence agencies in several other jurisdictions to preempt and prevent acts of crime or terror.
LONDON--Twenty-five percent of chronic migraine patients experience at least a 75% reduction in headache days per month at 6 months after treatment with onabotulinumtoxin A, according to a new data analysis from the landmark PREEMPT trials.
On August 18, 2010, the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, overturned a grant of summary judgment by the Circuit Court of Cook County, finding that the Dramshop Act does not preempt claims based on legal theories independent from the defendant's provision of alcohol.
Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally preempt, or appear to preempt, negotiations.
6015 does not preempt state community property law with respect to an innocent spouse's right to a refund.
AAJ Public Affairs worked for more than a year to include conference report language to clarify that the requirements under the report, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, the Flammable Fabrics Act, and the Poison Packaging Prevention Act do not preempt damages claims under state or local common law or state statutory law.
The opposition to this scheme is unanimous and council leader John Shipley says he "takes criticism seriously" and then says "he can't preempt the decision of the planning committee meeting but thinks it is the right thing to do".
When Congress legislates in an area traditionally occupied by the states and does not indicate a clear intent to preempt state regulation, the court asserted, there is a presumption against preemption.
have announced their intention to introduce legislation in 2005 that would preempt existing state laws regulating most lines of insurance and deregulate insurance rate structures and policy forms.
The McCarran-Ferguson Act reserving regulation of the business of insurance to the states doesn't preempt a nationwide class action filed by Texas consumers challenging insurance companies' credit-scoring practices, the Fifth U.