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
  6. verb
    keep from happening or arising; make impossible
    synonyms: forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, 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, confound, cross, foil, frustrate, queer, scotch, scuttle, 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
  7. verb
    take action to prevent someone else from acting
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    type of:
    keep, prevent
    stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state
Word Family

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