To preclude something is to prevent it from happening. A muzzle precludes a dog from biting.

This is a very formal word, but it has a simple meaning: when something is precluded, it can't happen. See the prefix pre in preclude and in prevent? It is signaling that these words are all about things done before another action would happen — to make it impossible. Staying away from water precludes the possibility of drowning, though it also precludes any chance of having fun swimming.

Definitions of preclude

v make impossible, especially beforehand

close out, rule out
Type of:
eliminate, obviate, rid of
do away with

v keep from happening or arising; make impossible

“Your role in the projects precludes your involvement in the competitive project”
forbid, foreclose, forestall, prevent
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make unnecessary, save
make unnecessary an expenditure or effort
avert, avoid, debar, deflect, fend off, forefend, forfend, head off, obviate, stave off, ward off
prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
block, blockade, embarrass, hinder, obstruct, stymie, stymy
hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of
baffle, bilk, cross, foil, frustrate, queer, scotch, spoil, thwart
hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of
block, halt, kibosh, stop
stop from happening or developing
obstruct or hinder any discussion
disappoint, let down
fail to meet the hopes or expectations of
prevent commerce
obstruct deliberately by delaying
block or impede (a player from the opposing team) in ice hockey
prevent from reaching a verdict, of a jury
slow down or impede by creating an obstruction
destroy or break
hamper the progress of; impede
destroy or cause to fail
stop a judicial process

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