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[pri-ven-tiv] /prɪˈvɛn tɪv/
Medicine/Medical. of or noting a drug, vaccine, etc., for preventing disease; prophylactic.
serving to prevent or hinder:
preventive measures.
Medicine/Medical. a drug or other substance for preventing disease.
a preventive agent or measure.
Also, preventative
[pri-ven-tuh-tiv] /prɪˈvɛn tə tɪv/ (Show IPA),
(for defs 2, 4).
Origin of preventive
1630-40; prevent + -ive
Related forms
preventively, adverb
preventiveness, noun
nonpreventive, adjective
nonpreventively, adverb
nonpreventiveness, noun
unpreventative, adjective
unpreventive, adjective
unpreventively, adverb
unpreventiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for preventive
  • Consult your doctor about shots and other preventive measures before your trip.
  • preventive measures to mitigate human-predator conflict are now commonly employed by ranchers.
  • But they also emphasize primary care and preventive care, addressing diseases and problems before they become major.
  • Other features act as preventive measures, shielding kids from unwanted contact with those outside their network.
  • Planning firebreaks and other preventive measures depends on accurately predicting a fire's path.
  • It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care.
  • Some within the medical community, however, regard the preventive approach as promising but still in the experimental stage.
  • For preventive care, the patient must present themselves at the doctor's office.
  • Better, the incidence of treatment should decline significantly with better overall preventive care.
  • Living with the knowledge of the disease and lack of preventive measures were reasons given for declining.
British Dictionary definitions for preventive


tending or intended to prevent or hinder
  1. tending to prevent disease; prophylactic
  2. of or relating to the branch of medicine concerned with prolonging life and preventing disease
(in Britain) of, relating to, or belonging to the customs and excise service or the coastguard
something that serves to prevent or hinder
(med) any drug or agent that tends to prevent or protect against disease
another name for contraceptive
Also (except for sense 3) preventative (prɪˈvɛntətɪv)
Derived Forms
preventively, adverb
preventiveness, noun
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 preventive

1630s, from Latin praevent-, past participle stem of praevenire (see prevent), + -ive. As a noun, from 1630s; in medical use from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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preventive in Medicine

preventive pre·ven·tive (prĭ-věn'tĭv) or pre·ven·ta·tive (-tə-tĭv)
Preventing or slowing the course of an illness or a disease; prophylactic. n.
A preventive agent or treatment.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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