from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To keep from happening: took steps to prevent the strike.
- transitive v. To keep (someone) from doing something; impede: prevented us from winning.
- transitive v. Archaic To anticipate or counter in advance.
- transitive v. Archaic To come before; precede.
- intransitive v. To present an obstacle: There will be a picnic if nothing prevents.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To go before; to precede; hence, to go before as a guide; to direct.
- transitive v. To be beforehand with; to anticipate.
- transitive v. To intercept; to hinder; to frustrate; to stop; to thwart.
- intransitive v. To come before the usual time.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To go before; be earlier than; anticipate; forestall.
- To take previous measures against; hence, to frustrate; disappoint; evade; escape.
- To hinder from action by the opposition of obstacles; impede; restrain; check; preclude: generally followed by from.
- To keep from existing or occurring; render impossible.
- Synonyms To preclude, bar, debar.
- To come beforehand; come before others, or before the usual time.
- To interpose a hindrance, especially an insurmountable obstacle; interpose an effectual check; hinder.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. keep from happening or arising; make impossible
- v. stop (someone or something) from doing something or being in a certain state
Middle English preventen, to anticipate, from Latin praevenīre, praevent- : prae-, pre- + venīre, to come; see gwā- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English preventen ("anticipate"), from Latin praeventus, perfect passive participle of praeveniō ("anticipate"), from prae ("before") + veniō ("come"). (Wiktionary)