Forestall

In “The Story of An Hour,” by Kate Chopin, the author uses this word in the following sentence.

“He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.”

According to the merriam-webster dictionary, it means:

“to exclude, hinder, or prevent by prior occupation or measures”

This would mean that he quickly prevented any other friends from deliver the message of the death of her husband.

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