Definitions

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

  • n. An action taken in advance to protect against possible danger, failure, or injury; a safeguard: followed safety precautions when using heavy machinery.
  • n. Caution practiced in advance; forethought or circumspection: a need for precaution when planning a vacation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Previous caution or care; caution previously employed to prevent mischief or secure good; as, his life was saved by precaution.
  • n. A measure taken beforehand to ward off evil or secure good or success; a precautionary act; as, to take precautions against risks of accident.
  • v. : To warn or caution beforehand. --Locke.
  • v. : To take precaution against. --John Dryden.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Previous caution or care; caution previously employed to prevent mischief or secure good.
  • n. A measure taken beforehand to ward off evil or secure good or success; a precautionary act.
  • transitive v. To warn or caution beforehand.
  • transitive v. To take precaution against.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Previous caution; prudent foresight; care previously employed to prevent mischief or secure good results.
  • n. A measure taken beforehand; an act of foresight, designed to ward off possible evil or to secure good results.
  • To caution beforehand; warn.

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

  • n. a precautionary measure warding off impending danger or damage or injury etc.
  • n. the trait of practicing caution in advance
  • n. judiciousness in avoiding harm or danger

Etymologies

Late Latin praecautiō, praecautiōn-, from praecautus, past participle of Latin praecavēre, to guard against : prae-, pre- + cavēre, to beware.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French précaution, Latin praecautio, from praecavere, praecautum ("to guard against beforehand"); prae ("before") + cavere ("be on one's guard"). See pre-, and caution. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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