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[prek-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
  1. of, pertaining to, characterized by, or expressing entreaty or supplication: precatory overtures.
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Also prec·a·tive [prek-uh-tiv] /ˈprɛk ə tɪv/.

Origin of precatory

1630–40; < Late Latin precātōrius, equivalent to Latin precā(rī) to pray, entreat + -tōrius -tory1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for precatory

Historical Examples

  • The primitive forms of absolution, when confession was made to a priest, were precatory rather than declaratory.

    The Expositor's Bible:

    Alfred Plummer

  • The original form of absolution was “precatory rather than declaratory” (Plummer).

  • For this reason, recommendatory or precatory words used in a bequest are frequently treated as an express direction.

  • Still this sense has pleased the editors, and they have made "of goodnesse" a precatory and interjectional expression.

  • Many of the examples quoted by Roman controversialists are not precatory at all, but simply declarative.

    The Catacombs of Rome

    William Henry Withrow

British Dictionary definitions for precatory


  1. rare of, involving, or expressing entreaty; supplicatoryAlso: precative (ˈprɛkətɪv)
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Word Origin

C17: from Late Latin precātōrius relating to petitions, from Latin precārī to beg, pray
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 precatory


1630s, from Late Latin precatorius "pertaining to petitioning," from precatorem "one who prays," agent noun from precari "to pray" (see pray).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper