V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. to take precautionary measures and prevent something from arising or to hinder someone from doing something; 2. to hinder normal sales via various methods such as buying up goods or encouraging an increase in prices of merchandise

Synonyms: prevent, thwart, hinder, ward off, avert, apprehend, preclude, divert, monopolize


Tips: Forestall is derived from the Middle English forestallen, "to waylay and rob," from forestal, "highway robbery, ambush." This meaning would seem to pave the way for the shady practice of hindering normal market sales via unscrupulous methods. Specifically, to forestall is to slow down or hinder product sales by making the merchandise scarce or by falsely inflating prices. For a memory trick, note how forestall looks and sounds a lot like "foresteal." Forestall is similar to preempt, but more negative. For example, if you preempt your competitors from entering a market by entering it yourself, you have not done anything illegal or questionable. But if you pay off customers to prevent your competitors from entering a market, you forestall their efforts in a questionable way. Forestall can also be positive when used simply as a synonym for prevent or avert.

Usage Examples:

The company attempted to forestall a drop in the price of its stock by buying up a large quantify of its own shares. (prevent, avert)

Some doctors believe that vitamin B may forestall memory loss in seniors. (ward off, avert)

He was able to forestall other competitors from entering the market by making false claims that the competitors had a defective product. (prevent, preclude)

John tried to forestall criticism of his product, by asking all his friends and family to buy it and give it rave reviews. (prevent, avert)

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