The collapse of clear chains of responsibility can be seen as one of the most important factors which pre_______ the company's bankruptcy.

It's not preceded, because that simply means "came before".

But I am looking specifically for a word that means

  • enabled
  • laid the foundations for
  • allowed X to happen
  • set up

With a more negative (or at least neutral) connotation.

I guess this word can appropriately be applied to the constituents of any "perfect storm".

  • The factors are precursors of the bankruptcy, but we do not say that the factors precurse the bankruptcy.
    – GEdgar
    Nov 21, 2019 at 15:43
  • How do you know that there is such a word starting with pre? Have you looked for synonyms for 'enable'? Nov 21, 2019 at 16:31
  • 'Predestine' is in the same general area, but is largely confined to the religious domain (or notions of 'fate'). Nov 21, 2019 at 16:38
  • Why are you specifically looking for a word that starts with "pre"?
    – nollidge
    Nov 21, 2019 at 16:51
  • @EdwinAshworth idk how I know there is such a word, I've never actually thought about that before. That's quite a complex question. "It's on the tip of my tongue" is an idiom to describe it so I guess lots of people have this feeling. Nov 21, 2019 at 18:58

3 Answers 3


Words that would fit in your sentence:

Predicted, prepared, presaged, precipitated, predetermined, prefigured

Words that require a (small) change or rearrangement to it:

Precursor, preliminary, prerequisite, predisposed, prelude,

  • 1
    I don't think most of these fit OP's requirements. A suitable dictionary definition is considered almost mandatory on ELU for SWRs. Nov 21, 2019 at 16:36
  • I was looking for precipitated. I feel hesitant to accept your answer though bc there's so many things in it.... Nov 21, 2019 at 18:57
  • @theonlygusti No problem. As has been pointed out it's not a very good answer, but I'm glad it's been useful to you 😊 Nov 22, 2019 at 12:10

Precipitated https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/precipitate

to make something happen suddenly or sooner than expected:

  • An invasion would certainly precipitate a political crisis.
  • Fear of losing her job precipitated (= suddenly forced) her into action.

The word you are looking for may be preluded or predisposed.

The collapse of clear chains of responsibility can be seen as one of the most important factors which preluded or predisposed the company's bankruptcy.

Prelude means something that comes before a more important event or action that introduces or prepares for it.

Predisposed means make an impact in a certain way.

See the links


  • "preluded" (or predated) doesn't include any causality. "predisposed" seems to be an adjective to an entity such as "the company" in the sentence. I've not heard of a predisposed bankruptcy yet. Jan 31, 2020 at 13:04

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