Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Intended or used to prevent or hinder; acting as an obstacle: preventive measures.
  • adj. Carried out to deter expected aggression by hostile forces.
  • adj. Preventing or slowing the course of an illness or disease; prophylactic: preventive medicine; preventive health care.
  • n. Something that prevents; an obstacle.
  • n. Something that prevents or slows the course of an illness or disease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Preventing, hindering, or acting as an obstacle to.
  • adj. Carried out to deter military aggression.
  • adj. Slowing the development of an illness; prophylactic.
  • n. A thing that prevents, hinders, or acts as an obstacle to.
  • n. A thing that slows the development of an illness.
  • n. A contraceptive, especially a condom.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Going before; preceding.
  • adj. Tending to defeat or hinder; obviating; preventing the access of.
  • n. That which prevents, hinders, or obstructs; that which intercepts access; in medicine, something to prevent disease; a prophylactic.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Serving to prevent or hinder; guarding against or warding off something, as disease, injustice, loss, etc.
  • n. That which goes before; an anticipation.
  • n. That which prevents; that which constitutes an effectual check or insurmountable obstacle.
  • n. Specifically, something taken, used, or done beforehand to ward off disease.
  • n. Also preventative.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. remedy that prevents or slows the course of an illness or disease
  • adj. tending to prevent or hinder
  • adj. preventing or contributing to the prevention of disease
  • n. any obstruction that impedes or is burdensome
  • n. an agent or device intended to prevent conception

Etymologies

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