Definition of veto in English:



  • 1A constitutional right to reject a decision or proposal made by a lawmaking body.

    ‘neither state was given a veto over amendments to the Act’
    [mass noun] ‘the royal power of veto’
    • ‘I can't recall a stupider proposal than a bill that was recently introduced to give Congress a veto power over Supreme Court decisions.’
    • ‘I submit that part of the reason for that has been the ongoing existence of the veto in the Security Council.’
    • ‘Governments can also refer decisions they oppose to the European Council, where again they can apply the veto; and they can opt out of decisions when they wish to do so.’
    • ‘He will retain an effective veto over all government decisions through the establishment of a National Security Council, over which he will preside.’
    • ‘At a time of constitutional reform, the provision giving the Prime Minister a veto of high-level appointments obviously cries out for change.’
    • ‘From this perspective, the U.S. Senate has a veto over treaties negotiated by the executive, and constitutional courts have a veto over legislation.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, President Carter's battles with Congress over legislative vetoes alienated many members.’
    • ‘In some circumstances it has a veto on legislation.’
    • ‘Mandela called on world leaders, especially those with vetoes in the UN Security Council, to oppose him.’
    • ‘From his words, other popular commentary at the time, and the actions of the earliest presidents, an image of the veto emerged as a constitutional tool intended for rare use.’
    • ‘When it comes to conflicts of interest among states holding veto power, the Security Council is incapacitated.’
    • ‘The council has some powers, but the US proconsul, Paul Bremer, has a veto over its decisions.’
    • ‘In all countries but one, more people favour than oppose the idea of giving the UN Security Council the power to override the veto of a permanent member.’
    • ‘It had its own assembly and militia, the power of veto over federal decisions and control of education and other public services.’
    • ‘Clearly the present set-up gives the five major powers on the Security Council a veto on any decisions taken by UN member states.’
    • ‘Britain also sought Swedish support at the recent Nice summit in defence of its national vetoes on tax and welfare policies.’
    • ‘If accepted, DUP proposals would subject ministerial decisions to a veto by no more than thirty Assembly members, a situation not followed elsewhere.’
    • ‘Three members of the Security Council with veto powers - China, France and Russia - have all expressed opposition to the proposed resolution.’
    • ‘Unless something changes, he will be the first full-term president in 175 years not to have exercised his Constitutional veto power.’
    • ‘In 1983, the Supreme Court stunned Congress by declaring that the legislative veto was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers.’
    1. 1.1A rejection by right of veto.
      • ‘Such support was pivotal in conjunction with vetoes threatened and vetoes cast, even if the payoff was not instantaneous.’
      • ‘The veto is another blow to his leadership following the dismissal of the Government Administration and Home Affairs Minister early this month.’
      • ‘The legislation did not define the phrase ‘just cause’ when considering dismissal or veto of council members, giving the minister carte blanche.’
      • ‘Our primary focus is upon the messages attached to vetoes of public bills issued by the twentieth-century presidents, Theodore Roosevelt through Bill Clinton.’
      • ‘The problem with that is that a veto or a threatened veto by France would have had the result of the leader still being in power.’
      rejection, vetoing, dismissal, denial, declination, turndown
      prohibition, prohibiting, proscription, preclusion, restriction, suppression, stoppage
      embargo, ban, boycott, bar, interdict
      thumbs down, red light, knock-back
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Any ban or prohibition.
      ‘his veto on our drinking after the meal was annoying’
      • ‘The Cardinal had tried to impose an immediate veto on all contacts with the media.’
      • ‘Now we don't have to really divide or to make vetoes on people.’
      • ‘Few people want children - or, for that matter, anyone else - to have veto power over the decisions that parents make.’
      prohibition, ban, bar, proscription, interdiction, embargo, moratorium, injunction, restraining order
      View synonyms


  • 1 Exercise a veto against (a decision or proposal)

    ‘the president vetoed the bill’
    • ‘Although they tried to put a brave face on it, it means they are now outnumbered by the Independents and Labour, who could combine to veto their proposals.’
    • ‘American advisers are at the elbows of each minister, and the Americans can veto any policy with which they disagree.’
    • ‘Lawmakers also vetoed an administration proposal to eliminate the referendum supervisory committee that is stipulated in the law.’
    • ‘I think the court has got to have the ultimate say in it and can veto the decision of the committee if it thinks it goes out of the bounds of normal sentencing practice.’
    • ‘The president can veto a bill from Congress but an overuse of this will devalue not only his position but also that of the political structure in America.’
    • ‘Opponents of one-island-one-city are urging the federal cabinet to veto Bill 170 by exercising the little-used disallowance clause.’
    • ‘It follows a decision last September by the council to veto plans for a large Tesco store at 224 Garratt Lane.’
    • ‘Similar legislation was vetoed several times by President Clinton.’
    • ‘Most important was that local authorities were unable to veto proposals for alternative public schools.’
    • ‘The great powers (the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France) are the only permanent members with the authority to veto decisions.’
    • ‘When two weeks later Churchill urged Eisenhower to speed his advance into Czechoslovakia in order to occupy Prague, Marshall vetoed the proposal.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the plan was vetoed by the British government.’
    • ‘In fact, if a proposal is vetoed by the UN, it does not go ahead.’
    • ‘This exercise led him to conclude that, with few exceptions, the six presidents differed little in their publicly stated motives for vetoing legislation.’
    • ‘But, unlike most governors who enjoy the right to veto individual articles of a bill passed by their state councils, a president can only veto a bill as a whole.’
    • ‘They could and would undoubtedly veto any proposal to construct an airport at Thatch Valley.’
    • ‘Discounting the human element of the Medical Decision Making Act of 2005, Mr. Ehrlich cited the ‘mechanics of expediting health care decisions’ in vetoing the bill.’
    • ‘Neither the executive or legislative branch can change or veto a Fed decision.’
    • ‘Under the terms of the Luxembourg Compromise, governments would retain their right to veto proposals where they deemed a vital national interest to be at stake.’
    • ‘The president had an opportunity to exercise fiscal discipline by vetoing a farm bill that many people, including myself, felt was excessive.’
    reject, turn down, throw out, dismiss, say ‘no’ to, rule against, overrule, rule out, quash
    prohibit, forbid, interdict, proscribe, disallow, outlaw, embargo, place an embargo on, ban, bar, block, preclude, put a stop to, put an end to, stop, nullify, declare null and void
    kill, squash, put the kibosh on, give the thumbs down to, give the red light to
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Refuse to accept or allow.
      ‘I vetoed the idea of a holiday’
      • ‘He could also call Dylan, but that idea was vetoed as well.’
      • ‘Your primary role should not be to veto design ideas, or to be the tyrant at specification reviews.’
      • ‘The current EMEA rules allow a potential drug name to be vetoed even if the problem is caused by an official European language from a country the makers have no intention of selling to.’
      • ‘The idea to make this part of my speech was firmly vetoed by my wife.’
      • ‘He faced resistance in his own company-his management team tended to rule by consensus and veto his more outlandish ideas.’
      • ‘Tell them tonight, and I'll be here tomorrow morning before school to tell you if the idea is accepted or vetoed.’
      • ‘The city allowed it to demolish the homes on the lots but vetoed the parking lot.’
      • ‘She would like to eat salmon en croute but her husband has vetoed the idea because he thinks it looks too dry, or ‘too claggy’ as he colourfully put it.’
      • ‘When large banks in one country try to make acquisitions in another, national regulators, in flagrant breach of EU rules, quietly veto them.’
      • ‘Since he was on top, he had the power to veto some ideas, but for the most part, he stayed inside the game.’
      • ‘I don't think she knows that much about the internet, and she seems very unhelpful, vetoing my ideas without directing me towards anything else.’
      • ‘Often the artist or the gallery might veto an idea like that.’
      • ‘Most of the possible moderate candidates were ruled out early, vetoed by the country's religious overlords.’
      • ‘But the idea was vetoed by the Chiefs of Staff as impracticable.’
      • ‘When it comes time for the A.M.P.T.P. to make an offer or accept an offer, any one studio can veto the deal.’
      • ‘A last-ditch attempt to persuade an Amsterdam court to stop the company's supervisory board from vetoing the sale yesterday came to nothing.’
      • ‘This allows software to veto certain state transitions when it is not safe to do so.’


Early 17th century: from Latin, literally I forbid, used by Roman tribunes of the people when opposing measures of the Senate.