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[pri-kaw-shuh n] /prɪˈkɔ ʃən/
a measure taken in advance to avert possible evil or to secure good results.
caution employed beforehand; prudent foresight.
verb (used with object)
to forewarn; put on guard.
1595-1605; < Late Latin praecautiōn- (stem of praecautiō). See pre-, caution
Related forms
unprecautioned, adjective
2. forethought, prudence, circumspection. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for precautions
  • You'll appreciate his useful landscape applications and precautions as well.
  • After all, the politicians failed to take basic precautions to start with.
  • But with proper precautions, they can be visited and experienced safely.
  • We try to protect ourselves against volcanoes and tornadoes, but they overcome us despite our best precautions.
  • And here are some precautions worth taking, from my perspective.
  • Visitors should simply use the same precautions they would at home to avoid the disease.
  • Despite the precautions, clashes between protesters and the police erupted after the vote and continued into the evening.
  • The disease made him prone to exhaustion and collapse, and he had to take precautions to avoid straining his heart.
  • Without such precautions, the entire building could crack.
  • The rudimentary precautions to keep our imprisonment endurable he would not observe.
British Dictionary definitions for precautions


an action taken to avoid a dangerous or undesirable event
caution practised beforehand; circumspection
Derived Forms
precautionary, precautional, adjective
precautious, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from French, from Late Latin praecautiō, from Latin praecavēre to guard against, from prae before + cavēre to beware
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 precautions



c.1600, from French précaution (16c.) and directly from Late Latin praecautionem (nominative praecautio) "a safeguarding," from past participle stem of Latin praecavere "to guard against beforehand," from prae "before" (see pre-) + cavere "to be one's own guard" (see caution (n.)). The verb meaning "to warn (someone) in advance" is from c.1700.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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