- 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.
- going or coming before; preceding; anterior.
Origin of precedent
Examples from the Web for precedents
Historical parallels and precedents for social media abound.Social Media is So Old Even the Romans Had It
October 25, 2013
This is about a health-care law that is reality and the setting of precedents on executive power.Washington’s Other Car Crash: Obama vs. the Boehner Rule
October 4, 2013
Ironically, almost all the precedents he mentions demonstrate the need for partition of one kind or another.Partition Skepticism and the Future of the Peace Process
Avner Inbar, Assaf Sharon
September 25, 2013
John Roberts assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that judges must "be bound down by rules and precedents."John Roberts Is Just a Liar
June 18, 2012
At a press luncheon Tuesday, he again expressed his confidence that the justices will “abide by well-established” precedents.Obama Follows Reagan, FDR in Airing Supreme Court, Constitution Views
April 6, 2012
There were mountains of precedents on this side or that, as you pleased.Blood and Iron
John Hubert Greusel
He did no more than follow the precedents of his own and every surrounding nation.A Critical Exposition of the Popular 'Jihd'
Moulavi Gergh Ali
He ventured to declare—following the precedents—that she had treated him shamefully.Tristram of Blent
These were chiefly well-meaning folks, not much given to the study of precedents.We Two
We've certainly upset some precedents, broken some rules, and maybe some laws.David Lannarck, Midget
George S. Harney
- law a judicial decision that serves as an authority for deciding a later case
- an example or instance used to justify later similar occurrences
Word Origin and History for precedents
early 15c., "case which may be taken as a rule in similar cases," from Middle French precedent, noun use of an adjective, from Latin praecedentum (nominative praecedens), present participle of praecedere "go before" (see precede). Meaning "thing or person that goes before another" is attested from mid-15c. As an adjective in English from c.1400. As a verb meaning "to furnish with a precedent" from 1610s, now only in past participle precedented.
A previous ruling by a court that influences subsequent decisions in cases with similar issues.
Idioms and Phrases with precedents
see set a precedent.