Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
pre-empt /prɪˈɛmpt/ vb
  1. (transitive) to acquire in advance of or to the exclusion of others; appropriate
  2. (transitive) chiefly US to occupy (public land) in order to acquire a prior right to purchase
  3. (intransitive) to make a high opening bid, often on a weak hand, to shut out opposition bidding

pre-ˈemptor n
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
pre•empt or  pre-empt /priˈɛmpt/USA pronunciation   v. [+ object]
  1. to acquire (something) before someone else;
    take for oneself.
  2. to take the place of by being more important, or because of rescheduling, etc.;
    supplant:A special news report on the earthquake preempted the game show.
  3. to prevent (something anticipated) by acting first;
    head off:The rival company preempted our takeover bid by selling its stock.
pre•emp•tion, n. [uncountable]

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
pre•empt  (prē empt),USA pronunciation v.t. 
  1. to occupy (land) in order to establish a prior right to buy.
  2. to acquire or appropriate before someone else; take for oneself;
    arrogate:a political issue preempted by the opposition party.
  3. to take the place of because of priorities, reconsideration, rescheduling, etc.;
    supplant:The special newscast preempted the usual television program.

v.i. 
  1. Games[Bridge.]to make a preemptive bid.
  2. to forestall or prevent (something anticipated) by acting first;
    preclude;
    head off:an effort to preempt inflation.

n. 
  1. Games[Bridge.]a preemptive bid.
Also,  pre-empt.  pre•empti•ble, adj. 
pre•emp•tor  (prē empt),USA pronunciation n.  pre•emp•to•ry  (prē empt),USA pronunciation adj. 
  • back formation from preemption 1840–50, American.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged claim, appropriate, usurp.

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