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Meaning of preempt

pre•empt

Pronunciation: (prē-empt'), [key]
— v.t.
  1. to occupy (land) in order to establish a prior right to buy.
  2. to acquire or appropriate before someone else; take for oneself; arrogate: a political issue preempted by the opposition party.
  3. to take the place of because of priorities, reconsideration, rescheduling, etc.; supplant: The special newscast preempted the usual television program.
—v.i.
  1. to make a preemptive bid.
  2. to forestall or prevent (something anticipated) by acting first; preclude; head off: an effort to preempt inflation.
—n.
  1. a preemptive bid.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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