precedent

[ noun pres-i-duh nt; adjective pri-seed-nt, pres-i-duh nt ]
/ noun ˈprɛs ɪ dənt; adjective prɪˈsid nt, ˈprɛs ɪ dənt /

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-duh nt] /prɪˈsid nt, ˈprɛs ɪ dənt/

going or coming before; preceding; anterior.

Origin of precedent

1350–1400; (adj.) Middle English < Latin praecēdent- (stem of praecēdēns) present participle of praecēdere to go before, precede (see -ent); (noun) late Middle English, derivative of the adj.

Related forms

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

Can be confused

precedence precedents presidents
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for precedent

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

Culture 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.