To obviate means to eliminate the need for something or to prevent something from happening. If you want to obviate the possibility of a roach infestation, clean your kitchen regularly.

The prefix ob means "to go against." That makes sense when you look at the words obstruct and obstacle, but how about obstetrics? Why does the name of the branch of medicine dealing with birth have the same root as words that mean "stop" or "get in the way"? Because a midwife stands opposite to, or against, the woman giving birth.

Definitions of obviate

v do away with

eliminate, rid of
ask, call for, demand, involve, necessitate, need, postulate, require, take
require as useful, just, or proper
claim, exact, take
take as an undesirable consequence of some event or state of affairs
show more antonyms...
close out, preclude, rule out
make impossible, especially beforehand

v prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening

avert, avoid, debar, deflect, fend off, forefend, forfend, head off, stave off, ward off
Type of:
forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, prevent
keep from happening or arising; make impossible

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