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 '19 at 15:43
  • How do you know that there is such a word starting with pre? Have you looked for synonyms for 'enable'? – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '19 at 16:31
  • 'Predestine' is in the same general area, but is largely confined to the religious domain (or notions of 'fate'). – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '19 at 16:38
  • Why are you specifically looking for a word that starts with "pre"? – nollidge Nov 21 '19 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. – theonlygusti Nov 21 '19 at 18:58

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
    Precipitated was my first thought (negative connotation and "storm" related in a sense), and a "collapse" does seem abrupt (vocabulary.com/dictionary/precipitate). – KannE Nov 21 '19 at 16:22
  • 3
    BTW, listing a lot of words (instead of elaborating on one, or a few at most) may be met with disapproval (just FYI). – KannE Nov 21 '19 at 16:30
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    I don't think most of these fit OP's requirements. A suitable dictionary definition is considered almost mandatory on ELU for SWRs. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 21 '19 at 16:36
  • I was looking for precipitated. I feel hesitant to accept your answer though bc there's so many things in it.... – theonlygusti Nov 21 '19 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 😊 – simon at rcl Nov 22 '19 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. – Maarten Bodewes Jan 31 '20 at 13:04

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