Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about one particular verb and its synonyms:
Obviate derives from the Latin obviare (“to meet or withstand”) and the Latin obviam (“in the way”) and is the origin of our adjective obvious. Obviate has a number of English synonyms, including prevent, preclude, and avert; all of these can mean “to hinder or stop something.” When you prevent or preclude, you put up an insurmountable obstacle. Preclude often implies a degree of chance involved in halting an event. Obviate generally suggests using intelligence or forethought to ward off trouble. Avert implies a bad situation prevented or deflected by effective means.
Midsummer finds us obviating all over the place. Example: our tomato plants, hit by last week’s storm, are now ready for the next one, having been grounded with
reliable (we hope) metal anchors.
Lance also spent a sweaty hour fixing an eave spout about the garage door, so it now drains into a suitable spot.
Mundane, everyday actions, but they obviate disasters. Okay, minor disasters. (: Reflecting on many of my actions throughout life as child, wife, mother, and friend, obviation often played a role.
Of course, we can’t avert every undesired occurrence. But this doesn’t stop us from trying. Later in life, we learn these events might have happened to make us–or somebody else–stronger. Oh, the joys of hindsight…
On these slow summer days, I ponder obviation in relation to my novels. What experiences have developed my characters’ strength, self-discipline and motivation?
Most likely tough ones that tested their endurance more than they care to recall. Yep. Just today, my morning teabag presented an applicable quote: Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. T.S. Eliot
What a freeing concept–wish I’d embraced it long ago.
The heroines in my own reading take risks…big ones, and so do those in my writing. Maybe that’s why WWII folks attract me so much, eh?