The Meaning of Preclude: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of preclude? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word preclude, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word preclude mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and Dictionary, the transitive verb preclude means to make impossible or to rule out in advance. This is often used to mean to prevent something from happening. A physical disability or other given condition could preclude someone from having an athletic career. Insufficiency of the evidence could preclude a successful claim or conviction in a court of civil law. Fear of punishment could preclude an honest answer to a question. The word preclude can also have many other forms. Copyright could preclude the infringement of a right. Overall, the word preclude means to prevent some occurrence or accomplishment. For example, one could add the prefix sion to the end to create the noun preclusion. One could add sive, ble, ing or ed to create preclusive, precludable, the present participle precluding, and precluded.

Many different languages also contain words that mean the same thing as the word preclude. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words that look and sound similar across languages while also retaining the same meaning. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin such as Latin or Greek. Thislist of translations for the word preclude is provided by Word Sense

  •   Finnish: sulkea pois‎ 
  •   Polish: wykluczyć‎, wykluczać‎
  •   Greek: αποκλείω‎
  •   French: exclure‎
  •   Serbo-Croatian: isključiti‎
  •   Russian: предотвращать‎ (impf), устранять‎ (impf), исключать‎ (impf), мешать‎ (impf), препятствовать‎ (impf)
  •   Portuguese: excluir‎
  •   Dutch: uitsluiten‎, precluderen‎
  •   Spanish: descartar‎
  •   Hungarian: kizár‎
  •   Czech: vyloučit‎
  •   Georgian: გამორიცხავს‎

How can the word preclude be used in a sentence?

The word preclude can be used in a variety of different settings and circumstances in which something is being prevented from happening. In this first example, Jason is a lawyer in court.

Jason: Your honor, if I may. The modesty of the jury is precluding a guilty man from going to prison. 

Judge: You understand the statutory rules in place.

In this next example, Hannah and Grace are working on a project for the science fair.

Grace: I just want to do something easy. It’s not like we’re trying to win a Nobel prize. We’re just trying to pass the eighth grade. 

Hannah: I am not going to let your lackadaisical attitude preclude us from having a competitive project. I’m not in this to pass, or to get second place. I’m in this to win. If you aren’t, you might as well find a new partner.

Grace: Jeez, alright. No need to be so intense about it.

Here, Hannah uses the word preclude to tell Grace that she will not let her prevent them from winning the science fair. Hannah could have more of a sense of tact.

What is the origin of the word preclude?

According to Etymonline, the verb preclude has been used since the 1610s. This comes from the Latin praeclūdere meaning to close or hinder. This comes from the root prae meaning before or ahead, and the past participle form of claudere or clūdere, meaning to shut. The literal sense of this term has been obsolete since the 1620s. Related words include precluded, precluding, preclusion, preclusive (adj.), and close. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word preclude?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word preclude. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to expand your English language vocabulary as well as if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word preclude is provided by Thesaurus

  • ward
  •  prevent
  •  debar
  •  cramp
  •  hinder
  •  impede
  •  put a stop to
  •  frustrate
  •  hog-tie
  •  quit
  •  restrict
  •  put on brakes
  •  hang up
  •  baffle
  •  keep in
  •  repress
  •  constrain
  •  spoil
  •  check
  •  halt
  •  foil
  •  discourage
  •  cease
  •  stop
  •  exclude
  •  rule out
  •  forbid
  •  discontinue
  •  bar
  •  enjoin
  •  prohibit
  •  forestall
  •  outlaw
  •  arrest
  •  kibosh
  •  bit
  •  restrain
  •  withhold
  •  hold down
  •  interrupt
  •  curb
  •  hold back
  •  faze
  •  make impracticable
  •  obviate
  •  suppress
  •  sandbag
  •  deter
  •  interdict
  •  avert
  •  obstruct
  •  forfend
  • blockade
  •  taboo
  •  bridle
  •  stop
  •  check
  •  stymie
  •  stave off
  •  hold in
  •  inhibit

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word preclude. These are called antonyms, or “opposite words.” Antonyms are another great way to quickly and easily expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word preclude is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  support
  •  benefit
  •  do for
  •  ride shotgun
  •  brook
  •  commission
  •  let
  •  root for
  •  free up
  •  put up with
  •  oblige
  •  thump
  •  back
  •  open doors
  •  stand up for
  •  warrant
  •  live with
  •  sustain
  •  go along with
  •  approve
  •  accord
  •  assist
  •  take kindly to
  •  authorize
  •  endorse
  •  be game for
  •  puff
  •  make a pitch for
  •  go to bat for
  •  relieve
  •  stump
  •  go with
  •  endure
  •  aid
  •  admit
  •  collaborate
  •  license
  •  empower
  •  sanction
  •  give the go-ahead
  •  sit still for
  •  boost
  •  lend a hand
  •  give a boost
  •  certify
  •  okay
  •  favor
  •  give the green light
  •  give a leg up
  •  give leave
  •  grant permission
  •  pass on
  •  serve
  •  give a blank check
  •  grease the wheels
  •  pass
  •  hold with
  •  be big
  •  release
  •  further
  •  plug
  •  accredit
  •  work for
  •  recognize
  •  bail out
  •  give a lift
  •  hear of
  •  indulge
  •  abet
  •  give carte blanche
  •  tolerate
  •  bear
  •  push
  •  stand
  •  give permission
  •  go for
  •  take care of
  •  hype
  •  go down the line for
  •  allow
  •  facilitate
  •  run interference for
  •  work with
  •  expedite
  •  suffer
  •  consent
  •  put on the map
  •  cooperate
  •  reinforce

Overall, the word preclude means to prevent something from happening. This verb can be used in many different forms and is Latin in origin.