Meaning of “prevent” in the English Dictionary

"prevent" in British English

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preventverb [ T ]

uk /prɪˈvent/ us /prɪˈvent/

B1 to stop something from happening or someone from doing something:

Label your suitcases to prevent confusion.
[ + -ing verb ] His disability prevents him (from) driving.

More examples

  • The police seem to be powerless to prevent these attacks.
  • She would go over the accident again and again in her mind, wishing that she could somehow have prevented it.
  • A block in the pipe was preventing the water from coming through.
  • Fierce winds prevented the race from taking place.
  • The law has done little to prevent racial discrimination and inequality.

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

"prevent" in American English

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preventverb [ T ]

us /prɪˈvent/

to stop something from happening or someone from doing something:

The police tried to prevent him from leaving.
Can this type of accident be prevented?
preventable
adjective us /prɪˈven·tə·bəl/

Fortunately, the suffering caused by ulcers is entirely preventable.
prevention
noun [ U ] us /prɪˈven·ʃən/

crime prevention

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