Meaning of “precaution” in the English Dictionary

"precaution" in British English

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precautionnoun

uk /prɪˈkɔː.ʃən/ us /prɪˈkɑː.ʃən/

C1 [ C ] an action that is done to prevent something unpleasant or dangerous happening:

Many people have been stockpiling food as a precaution against shortages.
They failed to take the necessary precautions to avoid infection.
precautions [ plural ]

a polite way of referring to contraception (= methods that prevent a woman becoming pregnant):

If you're going to have sex, make sure you take precautions.

More examples

  • The inquiry into the disaster damns the company for its lack of safety precautions.
  • Safety precautions are observed as a matter of course.
  • Millions of travellers fail to take even the most elementary of precautions.
  • Doctors are legally obliged to take certain precautions.
  • The tighter security precautions include video cameras in the city centre.
precautionary
adjective uk /prɪˈkɔː.ʃən.ər.i/ us /prɪˈkɑː.ʃən.er.i/

The company has withdrawn the drug as a precautionary measure.

(Definition of “precaution” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"precaution" in American English

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precautionnoun [ C ]

us /prɪˈkɔ·ʃən/

an action taken to prevent something unpleasant or dangerous from happening:

Homeowners should take the basic precaution of locking their doors and windows.
precautionary
adjective [ not gradable ] us /prɪˈkɔ·ʃəˌner·i/

The company has withdrawn the drug as a precautionary measure while further testing is done.

(Definition of “precaution” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"precaution" in Business English

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precautionnoun [ C, especially plural ]

uk /prɪˈkɔːʃən/ us

something that is done to try and protect a person or thing from something dangerous or harmful:

The bank decided to reduce interest rates as a precaution against inflation.
We're taking every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of our employees.
necessary/safety/security precautions

(Definition of “precaution” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)