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precipitate (verb) speed up, hasten

When your action precipitates a matter, usually something bad, it makes it happen suddenly or sooner than it should. You precipitate matters if you cause them to happen sooner than expected, especially something bad. ‘Do not precipitate matters.’ This means, Do not act in a way that makes a bad thing happen sooner than expected.

  • The clerk precipitated his own ouster by bursting out at his manager. The clerk had been impatient to do it, and the manager had just been waiting for such an opportunity to fire him.
  • His article in the newspaper precipitated matters. It led to a confrontation between him and the party bosses, and it provided them with an opportunity to take disciplinary action against him, earlier than they could.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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