From Middle English forestallen (“to forestall, intercept, ambush, way-lay”), from forestalle (“a forestalling, interception”), from Old English foresteall (“intervention, hindrance of justice, ambush”), from fore- (“ahead of, before”) + steall (“position”), equivalent to fore- + stall.
- (transitive) To prevent, delay or hinder something by taking precautionary or anticipatory measures; to avert.
- Fred forestalled disaster by his prompt action.
- (transitive) To preclude or bar from happening, render impossible.
- In French, an aspired h forestalls elision.
- (archaic) To purchase the complete supply of a good, particularly foodstuffs, in order to charge a monopoly price.
- To anticipate, to act foreseeingly.
- 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: Printed [by Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, […], published 1637, OCLC 228715864; reprinted as Comus: […] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, OCLC 1113942837:
- What need a man forestall his date of grief, / And run to meet what he would most avoid?
- 1919, W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, chapter 26
- She insisted on doing her share of the offices needful to the sick. She arranged his bed so that it was possible to change the sheet without disturbing him. She washed him. […] She did not speak to him much, but she was quick to forestall his wants.
- To deprive (with of).
- 1611 April (first recorded performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Cymbeline”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene v]:
- All the better; may / This night forestall him of the coming day!
- (Britain, law) To obstruct or stop up, as a road; to stop the passage of a highway; to intercept on the road, as goods on the way to market.
- See also Thesaurus:hinder
From Middle English forstal, from Old English foresteall (“an intervention, hindrance (of justice), ambush, assault, offence of waylaying on the highway, fine for such an offence, resistance, opposition”), equivalent to fore- + stall.
forestall (plural forestalls)
- (obsolete or historical) An ambush; plot; an interception; waylaying; rescue.
- Something situated or placed in front.