• synonyms


[pres-i-duh ns, pri-seed-ns]
  1. act or fact of preceding.
  2. the right to precede in order, rank, or importance; priority.
  3. the fact of preceding in time; antedating.
  4. the right to precede others in ceremonies or social formalities.
  5. the order to be observed in ceremonies by persons of different ranks, as by diplomatic protocol.
Show More

Origin of precedence

First recorded in 1475–85; preced(ent) + -ence
Can be confusedprecedence precedents presidents
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for precedences

Historical Examples

  • A bit of a shock it was to learn that in this rough land they had their castes and precedences.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Alongside this collection there was another book that came to be regarded and used as a book of precedences.

  • You can see from his books that he accepts etiquettes, precedences, associations, claims.

British Dictionary definitions for precedences



  1. the act of preceding or the condition of being precedent
  2. the ceremonial order or priority to be observed by persons of different stations on formal occasionsthe officers are seated according to precedence
  3. a right to preferential treatmentI take precedence over you
Show More
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 precedences



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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper