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

  • n. The right to purchase something before others, especially the right to purchase public land that is granted to one who has settled on that land.
  • n. A purchase made by such a right.
  • n. Prior seizure of, appropriation of, or claim to something, such as property.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The purchase of something before it is offered for sale to others.
  • n. The purchase of public land by the occupant.
  • n. The temporary interruption of a task without its cooperation and with the intention of resuming it at a later time.
  • n. The displacement of a lower jurisdiction's laws when they conflict with those of a higher jurisdiction.


pre- + Latin ēmptiō, ēmptiōn-, buying (from ēmptus, past participle of Latin emere, to buy).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin praeēmptiō ("previous purchase"), from praeemō ("buy before"), from Latin prae- ("before") + emō ("buy"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.