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See also: préventive



preventive ‎(comparative more preventive, superlative most preventive)

  1. Preventing, hindering, or acting as an obstacle to.
  2. Carried out to deter military aggression.
  3. Slowing the development of an illness; prophylactic.
    • Sir Thomas Browne
      Physic is either curative or preventive.
  4. (obsolete) Going before; preceding.
    • Cudworth
      Any previous counsel or preventive understanding.



preventive ‎(plural preventives)

  1. (dated) A thing that prevents, hinders, or acts as an obstacle to.
    • 1856, Henry William Herbert, The Complete Manual for Young Sportsmen
      Dogs should be warmly but airily housed; heartily, but not heatingly, fed — old Indian meal, mixed with oatmeal, suppawn, is the best general food, with a small quantity of salt, which is a preventive against worms []
  2. (nonstandard) A thing that slows the development of an illness.
  3. A contraceptive, especially a condom.

Alternative forms[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Many speakers prefer to use preventive in adjective senses and preventative in noun senses.[1]




  1. feminine plural of preventivo