preempt

If everyone at the lunch meeting is vying for the last roast beef sandwich, but you grab it first, you preempt your colleagues from getting it. Let them eat liverwurst! Preempt means to displace or take something before others can.

Preempt combines the Latin prefix prae-, "before," with emere, "to buy." Think old-fashioned land grabs and midnight madness sales. It can also mean to replace one thing with another that’s more important. For instance, if the president is speaking or the football game is running long, brace yourself: the network just might preempt your favorite show.

Definitions of preempt
  1. verb
    acquire for oneself before others can do so
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    type of:
    acquire, get
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
  2. verb
    gain possession of by prior right or opportunity, especially so as to obtain the right to buy (land)
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    type of:
    acquire, get
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
  3. verb
    make a preemptive bid in the game of bridge
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    type of:
    bid, call
    make a demand, as for a card or a suit or a show of hands
  4. noun
    a high bid that is intended to prevent the opposing players from bidding
    synonyms: pre-empt, preemptive bid
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    type of:
    bid, bidding
    (bridge) the number of tricks a bridge player is willing to contract to make
  5. verb
    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”
    synonyms: displace
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    type of:
    replace, supercede, supersede, supervene upon, supplant
    take the place or move into the position of
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