Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 14, 2018 is:
obviate • \AHB-vee-ayt\ • verb
: to anticipate and prevent (something, such as a situation) or make (an action) unnecessary
“Many tech experts wouldn’t expect the online advertising and data powerhouse to be interested in blockchain—a technology that, in many ways, obviates the need for the cloud and enables users to wrest control of their data from big tech companies.” — Ben Dickson, PC Magazine, 27 Apr. 2018
“But for those of us who relish the familiarity of the status quo and perhaps cannot afford the $50,000 a year or more that assisted living would cost, our current homes may require some adjustments to postpone—and perhaps obviate—any need to move to safer if not more pleasurable dwellings.” — Jane E. Brody, The New York Times, 21 May 2018
Did you know?
Obviate derives from the Late Latin obviare (meaning “to meet or withstand”) and the Latin obviam (meaning “in the way”) and is also an ancestor of our adjective obvious. Obviate has a number of synonyms in English, including prevent, preclude, and avert; all of these words can mean “to hinder or stop something.” When you prevent or preclude something, you put up an insurmountable obstacle. In addition, preclude often implies that a degree of chance was involved in stopping an event. Obviate generally suggests the use of intelligence or forethought to ward off trouble. Avert always implies that a bad situation has been anticipated and prevented or deflected by the application of immediate and effective means.