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preventive war

noun, Military
1.
an attack against a possible enemy to prevent an attack by that enemy at a later time.
Also called preemptive strike.
Origin
1630-1640
1630-40
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for preventive war
  • But a preventive war is not an ounce but a ton of prevention.
  • For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventive war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences.
  • But, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a preventive war.
  • Faced with shrinking means, great powers are thought to have few options to stave off decline short of preventive war.

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