Part of speech:
(Like “eat,” “try,” and “want,” all transitive verbs do something to an object.
You eat a banana, try a game, and want a new phone.
Likewise, you obviate something.)
To obviate something is to make it unnecessary.
"Obviate" also means to prevent something or eliminate something, but if that's what you mean, I suggest just saying "prevent" or "eliminate." People use it this way, though, so we'll focus on both meanings throughout this issue.
Since "obviate" looks so much like "obvious," you might guess incorrectly that it means "to make obvious." The two words do have identical roots. "Ob-" means "against," and "via" means "way." Something obvious is standing right in your way, and something obviated has had something get in its way.
obviated, obviating, obviable, obviation
How to use it:
Talk about obviating something, like a process, a chore, a requirement, extra work, people's objections, people's angry reactions, a long waiting period, some surgery, and so on. As you can see, it's usually good to obviate something--because we typically try to obviate whatever is bad.
Often you'll hear people say "obviate the need for" and "obviate the necessity of." Both phrases are redundant. All you need in either is "obviate." However, I'm fighting a losing battle with these phrases; they're extremely common.
Keeping a chart of which kids are in charge of which chores seems like a great way to obviate both disputes and messy rooms.
When she was expecting, my friend Sarah wore a necklace that said "Due in January," a clever way to obviate the much-repeated question from strangers.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You'll know you understand what "obviate" means when you can explain it without saying "not needed" or "forestall."
Think of something that you or a friend often does in order to avoid something annoying, and fill in the blanks: "__(Action)___ should really obviate __(annoying thing)___."
Example: "Providing a detailed and clear course syllabus should really obviate excessive questions from students, but as most professors would tell you, they either answer the questions that arise anyway or just sigh wearily and say, 'Look in the syllabus.'"
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now;let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're reviewing recently featured words with some activities created with my favorite vocabulary software: Vocabulary Worksheet Factory, made by Schoolhouse Technologies. It's a simple, flexible program that lets you input word lists and definitions, then create customized, fun worksheets for review. We're starting off with very easy activities, then working our way toward harder reviews throughout the month.
Julius Sumner Miller: "What [teachers] do, if we are successful, is to stir interest in the matter at hand, awaken enthusiasm for it, arouse a curiosity, kindle a feeling, fire up the imagination. To my own teachers who handled me in this way, I owe a great and lasting debt."
1. The opposite of OBVIATE is
2. Some argue that _____ would obviate the entire welfare system.
A. stricter dietary requirements for those purchasing food with government aid
B. the incorrect perception of a typical aid recipient as lazy
C. raising the minimum wage to an above-poverty level
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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