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verb (used with object), pre·ced·ed, pre·ced·ing.
  1. to go before, as in place, order, rank, importance, or time.
  2. to introduce by something preliminary; preface: to precede one's statement with a qualification.
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verb (used without object), pre·ced·ed, pre·ced·ing.
  1. to go or come before.
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  1. Journalism. copy printed at the beginning of a news story presenting late bulletins, editorial notes, or prefatory remarks.
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Origin of precede

1325–75; Middle English preceden < Latin praecēdere. See pre-, cede
Related formspre·ced·a·ble, adjectiveun·pre·ced·ed, adjective
Can be confusedprecede proceed
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for precede


  1. to go or be before (someone or something) in time, place, rank, etc
  2. (tr) to preface or introduce
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Word Origin

C14: via Old French from Latin praecēdere to go before, from prae before + cēdere to move
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 precede


early 15c., "lead the way; occur before," from Middle French preceder and directly from Latin praecedere "to go before," from prae "before" (see pre-) + cedere "to go" (see cede). Meaning "to walk in front of" is late 15c.; that of "to go before in rank or importance" is attested from mid-15c. Related: Preceded; preceding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper