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[pres-i-duh ns, pri-seed-ns] /ˈprɛs ɪ dəns, prɪˈsid ns/
act or fact of preceding.
the right to precede in order, rank, or importance; priority.
the fact of preceding in time; antedating.
the right to precede others in ceremonies or social formalities.
the order to be observed in ceremonies by persons of different ranks, as by diplomatic protocol.
Origin of precedence
First recorded in 1475-85; preced(ent) + -ence
Can be confused
precedence, precedents, presidents. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for precedence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But the old sleep must have the precedence of all the new things.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • But it transpired that there was something preparatory to that, or at least that must take the precedence.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • Meeting Casanova in the entry, he gave him precedence with mock politeness.

    Casanova's Homecoming Arthur Schnitzler
  • There is no other law of precedence, no other law of rank and position in God's kingdom.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • Imogen had been unused to the distinctions of rank and precedence.

    Imogen William Godwin
British Dictionary definitions for precedence


the act of preceding or the condition of being precedent
the ceremonial order or priority to be observed by persons of different stations on formal occasions: the officers are seated according to precedence
a right to preferential treatment: I take precedence over you
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for precedence

late 15c., "a being a precedent," from precedent (n.) + -ence. Meaning "fact of preceding another, right of preceding another" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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