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See more synonyms for decree on Thesaurus.com
  1. a formal and authoritative order, especially one having the force of law: a presidential decree.
  2. Law. a judicial decision or order.
  3. Theology. one of the eternal purposes of God, by which events are foreordained.
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verb (used with or without object), de·creed, de·cree·ing.
  1. to command, ordain, or decide by decree.
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Origin of decree

1275–1325; (noun) Middle English decre < Anglo-French decre, decret < Latin dēcrētum, noun use of neuter of dēcrētus, past participle of dēcernere; see decern; (v.) Middle English decreen, derivative of the noun
Related formspre·de·cree, verb (used with object), pre·de·creed, pre·de·cree·ing.un·de·creed, adjectivewell-de·creed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for decree

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But there was the decree, written in letters of blood and flame.


    William J. Locke

  • It seemed more than a decree of chance that their fates should be intertwined.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • It was nothing that the decree bore date since his return to France.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • There he was, and there was the decree; he had been taken in France, and his head was demanded.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • History is the final tribunal which will decree to everyone what he has deserved.


    Theodor Hertzka

British Dictionary definitions for decree


  1. an edict, law, etc, made by someone in authority
  2. an order or judgment of a court made after hearing a suit, esp in matrimonial proceedingsSee decree nisi, decree absolute
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verb decrees, decreeing or decreed
  1. to order, adjudge, or ordain by decree
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Derived Formsdecreeable, adjectivedecreer, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French decre, from Latin dēcrētum ordinance, from dēcrētus decided, past participle of dēcernere to determine; see decern
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

Word Origin and History for decree


early 14c., from Old French decre, variant of decret (12c., Modern French décret), from Latin decretum, neuter of decretus, past participle of decernere "to decree, decide, pronounce a decision," from de- (see de-) + cernere "to separate" (see crisis).

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late 14c., from decree (n.). Related: Decreed; decreeing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper