- a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct.
- an injunction as to moral conduct; maxim.
- a procedural directive or rule, as for the performance of some technical operation.
- a writ or warrant.
- a written order issued pursuant to law, as a sheriff's order for an election.
Origin of precept
SynonymsSee more synonyms for precept on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for precept
Ironically, this is the one precept on which liberals and conservatives agree.Red Tape Is Strangling Good Samaritans
Philip K. Howard
December 27, 2014
You want to advocate for including a precept of Jewish law in civil or criminal law?A Hebrew Democratic State for All Its Citizens
October 3, 2013
Many think this a precept of natural law; why not of the Constitution?Scalia Reverses Scalia
July 3, 2012
Likewise our second precept remained beyond discussion; direct open contact with humanity.The Extinction Parade: An Original Zombie Story by Max Brooks
January 14, 2011
But Baxter had no reason to regret the inconsistency of his precept and example.The Works of Whittier, Volume VI (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
By Precept and Example they ought to be encourag'd to it from their Infancy.A Letter to Dion
This is a matter of precept rather than of law, and cannot be precisely regulated by the legislator.Laws
Where precept had failed, Richard found himself converted by example.Mistress Wilding
Sanitation, not the word, but the underlying idea, was taught by precept and example.The Negro Farmer
- a rule or principle for action
- a guide or rule for morals; maxim
- a direction, esp for a technical operation
- 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
Word Origin and History for precept
late 14c., from Old French percept, percet (12c.), from Latin praeceptum "maxim, rule of conduct, order," noun use of neuter past participle of praecipere "give rules to, order, advise," literally "take beforehand," from prae "before" (see pre-) + capere (past participle captus) "to take" (see capable). For change of vowel, see biennial.