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[ob-vee-eyt] /ˈɒb viˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), obviated, obviating.
to anticipate and prevent or eliminate (difficulties, disadvantages, etc.) by effective measures; render unnecessary:
to obviate the risk of serious injury.
1590-1600; < Latin obviātus, past participle of obviāre to act contrary to, derivative of obvius; see obvious, -ate1
Related forms
[ob-vee-uh-buh l] /ˈɒb vi ə bəl/ (Show IPA),
obviation, noun
obviator, noun
preobviate, verb (used with object), preobviated, preobviating.
unobviable, adjective
unobviated, adjective
Can be confused
ameliorate, obviate, vitiate.
preclude, avert, anticipate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for obviating
  • By obviating these shortcomings, state aid can also become more effective and can do more for the poor.
  • As for cell phones, boat-rental shops keep them onboard for booking, obviating the need for actual storefronts.
  • Often they will do so expeditiously, obviating the offshore balancer's intervention.
  • They walked upright on short legs, but might have had a peculiar gait obviating long-distance running.
  • When conditions have eased, the spikes can be retracted, obviating the need to carry two sets of tires or snow chains.
British Dictionary definitions for obviating


(transitive) to avoid or prevent (a need or difficulty)
Derived Forms
obviation, noun
Usage note
Only things that have not yet occurred can be obviated. For example, one can obviate a possible future difficulty, but not one that already exists
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin obviātus prevented, past participle of obviāre; see obvious
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for obviating



1590s, "to meet and do away with," from Late Latin obviatus, past participle of obviare "act contrary to, go against," from Latin obvius "that is in the way, that moves against" (see obvious). Related: Obviated; obviating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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