“He took the famous adage literally, and it turned out that ‘eating an apple a day’ did in fact keep him so healthy that it obviated the need for regular trips to the doctor.”

According to what’s shown above, what is the best definition of obviate?

Check your answer!

Choice A - To ward off or eliminate the necessity of something
Choice B - To physically replace something and render it unnecessary
Choice C - To call into question the importance or value of something
Choice D - To belittle or criticize another person or entity


Obviate (verb) – to eliminate the need for something or make unnecessary (often by taking preventative measures); or, to hinder or prevent  

Obviation (noun) – the act of making something unnecessary; or prevention

GRE pro tips:

The Latin prefix ob- means “going against,” “hindering,” or “reversing;” it appears in common words like obstruct and obstacle as well as in the more-challenging verb obviate. So it makes sense that obviating something can mean hindering it, or in other words, preventing or warding it off. As it’s usually used, obviating something specifically means reversing its necessity, or eliminating the need for it. For example, in medicine, a new treatment or therapy can obviate the need for surgery; likewise, keeping up with your studies all semester can obviate the need to cram for an exam.

Example sentences:

“These new therapeutic options can, in some instances, obviate the need for surgery.”

“For some parents, simply handing their kids a iPad obviates the need to parent.”