[ pree-sept ]
See synonyms for precept on
  1. a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct.

  2. an injunction as to moral conduct; maxim.

  1. a procedural directive or rule, as for the performance of some technical operation.

  2. Law.

    • a writ or warrant.

    • a written order issued pursuant to law, as a sheriff's order for an election.

Origin of precept

1300–50; Middle English <Latin praeceptum piece of advice, rule, noun use of neuter of praeceptus, past participle of praecipere to direct, foresee, literally, to take beforehand, equivalent to prae-pre- + -cep-, combining form of capere to take + -tus past participle suffix

Other words for precept

Words that may be confused with precept

Words Nearby precept Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use precept in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for precept


/ (ˈpriːsɛpt) /

  1. a rule or principle for action

  2. a guide or rule for morals; maxim

  1. a direction, esp for a technical operation

  2. law

    • a writ or warrant

    • a written order to a sheriff to arrange an election, the empanelling of a jury, etc

    • (in England) an order to collect money under a rate

Origin of precept

C14: from Latin praeceptum maxim, injunction, from praecipere to admonish, from prae before + capere to take

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