precedent

[ noun pres-i-duhnt; adjective pri-seed-nt, pres-i-duhnt ]
/ noun ˈprɛs ɪ dənt; adjective prɪˈsid nt, ˈprɛs ɪ dənt /
See synonyms for: precedent / precedents on Thesaurus.com

noun

Law. a legal decision or form of proceeding serving as an authoritative rule or pattern in future similar or analogous cases.
any act, decision, or case that serves as a guide or justification for subsequent situations.

adjective pre·ce·dent [pri-seed-nt, pres-i-duhnt] /prɪˈsid nt, ˈprɛs ɪ dənt/

going or coming before; preceding; anterior.

QUIZZES

LEARN THE SPANISH WORDS FOR THESE COMMON ANIMALS!

Are you learning Spanish? Or do you just have an interest in foreign languages? Either way, this quiz on Spanish words for animals is for you.
Question 1 of 13
How do you say “cat” 🐈 in Spanish?

Origin of precedent

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English (adjective), from Middle French, from Latin praecēdent- (stem of praecēdēns ), present participle of praecēdere “to go in front of, go ahead of”; the noun is from the adjective; see precede, -ent

OTHER WORDS FROM precedent

prec·e·dent·less, adjectivenon·prec·e·dent, nounnon·pre·ced·ent, adjectivequa·si-pre·ced·ent, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH precedent

precedence, precedents , presidents
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for precedent

precedent

noun (ˈprɛsɪdənt)

law a judicial decision that serves as an authority for deciding a later case
an example or instance used to justify later similar occurrences

adjective (prɪˈsiːdənt, ˈprɛsɪdənt)

preceding
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

Cultural definitions for precedent

precedent
[ (press-uh-duhnt) ]

A previous ruling by a court that influences subsequent decisions in cases with similar issues.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with precedent

precedent

see set a precedent.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.