forestall

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English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English forstal, from Old English foresteall (an intervention, hindrance (of justice), ambush, assault, offence of waylaying on the highway, fine for such an offence, resistance, opposition), equivalent to fore- +‎ stall.

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Noun[edit]

forestall (plural forestalls)

  1. (obsolete or historical) An ambush; plot; an interception; waylaying; rescue.
  2. Something situated or placed in front.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English forestallen (to forestall, intercept, ambush, way-lay), from forestalle (a forestalling, interception), from Old English foresteall (intervention, hindrance of justice, ambush), from fore- (ahead of, before) + steall (position).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

forestall (third-person singular simple present forestalls, present participle forestalling, simple past and past participle forestalled)

  1. (transitive) To prevent, delay or hinder something by taking precautionary or anticipatory measures; to avert.
    Fred forestalled disaster by his prompt action.
  2. (transitive) To preclude or bar from happening, render impossible.
    In French, an aspired h forestalls elision.
  3. (archaic) To purchase the complete supply of a good, particularly foodstuffs, in order to charge a monopoly price.
  4. To anticipate, to act foreseeingly.
    • Milton
      What need a man forestall his date of grief, / And run to meet what he would most avoid?
    • 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, chapter 26
      She insisted on doing her share of the offices needful to the sick. She arranged his bed so that it was possible to change the sheet without disturbing him. She washed him. [] She did not speak to him much, but she was quick to forestall his wants.
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