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Is there a word with similar meaning to preclude, except that the noun acted upon is made implausible or unlikely rather than completely impossible?

Ex: Large stock market gains ____ the possibility that there will be a recession?

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    Are you looking for something along the lines of a synonym for impede, or a synonym for forestall with a negative connotation?
    – djs
    Mar 21, 2020 at 10:41

2 Answers 2

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Considering that the verb's object is "the possibility", reduce or lessen.

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I like gainsay here; it means

(Dictionary.com) (1) to deny, dispute, or contradict, (2) to speak or act against; oppose;

(Merriam–Webster) (1) to declare to be untrue or invalid, (2) contradict, oppose.

Contradict and refute seem too strong (leaning toward the impossibility side of your question), while weaken implies perhaps too much of a causal relationship.

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