Open main menu

Wiktionary β




From Latin obviāre (to block, to hinder).



obviate (third-person singular simple present obviates, present participle obviating, simple past and past participle obviated)

  1. (transitive) To anticipate and prevent or bypass (something which would otherwise have been necessary or required).
  2. (transitive) To avoid (a future problem or difficult situation).
    • 1826, Richard Reece, A Practical Dissertation on the Means of Obviating & Treating the Varieties of Costiveness, page 181:
      A mild dose of a warm active aperient to obviate costiveness, or to produce two motions daily, is generally very beneficial.
    • 2004, David J. Anderson, Agile Management for Software Engineering, page 180:
      Some change requests, rather than extend the scope, obviate some of the existing scope of a project.
    • 2008, William S. Kroger, Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis: In Medicine, Dentistry, and Psychology, page 163:
      Thus, to obviate resistance, the discussion should be relevant to the patient′s problems.

Usage notesEdit

  • Garner's Modern American Usage (2009) notes that phrases like obviate the necessity or obviate the need are sometimes considered redundant, but "these phrases are not redundancies, for the true sense of obviate the necessity is 'to prevent the necessity (from arising),' hence to make unnecessary."