Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An action taken in advance to protect against possible danger, failure, or injury; a safeguard.
  • noun Caution practiced in advance; forethought or circumspection.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Late Latin praecautiō, praecautiōn-, from praecautus, past participle of Latin praecavēre, to guard against : prae-, pre- + cavēre, to beware.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French précaution, Latin praecautio, from praecavere, praecautum ("to guard against beforehand"); prae ("before") + cavere ("be on one's guard"). See pre-, and caution.

Examples

  • In this connection, the term precaution must not be used as a guise for trade protectionist measures as this would have the effect of casting doubt upon, and even undermining, environmental as well as trade policy objectives.

    Fact Sheet On Policy Declaration On Environment And Trade

  • Tamiflu already has a label precaution about this potential side effect, which drew attention two years ago after reports of 12 deaths and about three dozen neuropsychiatric events in Japan in 2000 to 2005.

    FDA Questions the Safety

  • Carefully I covered my rock cisterns with flat stones so that the sun's rays might not evaporate the precious fluid and in precaution against some upspringing of wind in the night and the sudden flying of spray.

    Chapter 19

  • Adway lightly unfastened his holster in precaution, trying to remain as calm as he could.

    NaNoWriMo: Attack Of The Zombie Robots « The Graveyard

  • Carefully I covered my rock cisterns with flat stones so that the sun's rays might not evaporate the precious fluid and in precaution against some upspringing of wind in the night and the sudden flying of spray.

    Chapter 19

  • Another precaution is to always store products in their original containers, says Dr. Muller.

    Children Act Fast...So Do Poisons!

  • There are many people in the scientific community who agree that this precaution is necessary.

    Global convention delegates consider strict limits on climate engineering

  • Consequently the suggested precaution is hardly mild if we read this opinion broadly (as PatHMV seems to do).

    The Volokh Conspiracy » What Should Landlords Do If a Tenant Is Accused of a Violent Crime?

  • "I grant that precaution is necessary in dealing with them," Joan agreed; "but I believe that more satisfactory results can be obtained by treating them with discreet kindness and gentleness."

    Chapter 7

  • The reason that I suggest that you take some sort of security precaution is because of the experience that I went through here.

    Gerald Bluefeather Smith

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