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  1. that precedes; previous: Refer back to the footnote on the preceding page.
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Origin of preceding

First recorded in 1485–95; precede + -ing2


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
foregoing, prior, former, earlier.



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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for preceding

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He had proved this by approaching the cabin of the trapper on the preceding night.

  • She swung about quickly, preceding him to the door and down the stairs.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • But the circumstances of the preceding day had made an essential alteration in the case.

    Maid Marian

    Thomas Love Peacock

  • While his hands were busy, his mind was occupied with the conversation of the preceding evening.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • The weather was again superb after the storms of the two preceding nights.

British Dictionary definitions for preceding


  1. (prenominal) going or coming before; former
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  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 preceding



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